How should central New York prepare for winter?

The following web story is a direct transcription from the National Weather Service regarding winter weather awareness week. We are an important partner with the National Weather Service to educate and remind everyone about the many hazards that a New York winter brings and how to keep safe for the winter season. One of the key lessons from natural disasters over the last several years is that individuals must be prepared to deal with the effects of hazardous weather conditions.

Heavy snow can pile up several feet, delighting skiers, but clogging roads or trapping us in our homes. Freezing rain can rob us of electricity or turn our highways into deadly thoroughfares. Biting cold and strong winds can make the spot by the fireplace seem cozy, but they also numb our fingers and toes, or even worse. These are all facts of life in our temperate climate during the winter. However, there is plenty we can do to help protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Winter is the most dangerous time of the year for drivers. Nearly three out of every four winter weather related deaths occur on our highways. When roads are snow covered or icy, slow down and drive very carefully.

The cold weather also puts an added strain on vehicles. We suggest, if you have not already done so, that you get your car in good mechanical working order now. Make sure it is tuned up. Check your tires, brakes, windshield wipers, and antifreeze. If your car is in good working order, there is less chance it will fail when you need it most.

Consider keeping a blanket or a sleeping bag in your car. Prepare a winter storm survival kit for your car. This kit should include a first aid kit, flashlight with fresh batteries, shovel, sack of sand or cat litter, booster cables, tow rope, ice scraper and brush, candy bars or other high energy non perishable food, and paper towels. You should keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.

Call ahead to your destination to tell someone you are on your way. Try not to travel alone and use primary roads as often as possible. If you are stuck in your car during a winter storm, stay there, and tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna. Do not attempt to walk to safety unless you can clearly see the shelter you wish to reach.

You are more likely to be rescued from your vehicle than from a barn or other uninhabited, out of the way building. While waiting for help run the vehicles engine and heater for several minutes every hour, just enough to keep from becoming unreasonably cold. Make sure to open a window slightly, and clear snow from the tailpipe. This will help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust.

Dress warmly for the cold weather. Several layers of loose fitting clothing are better than one tight fitting garment. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Do not forget your hat since the bodyâ??s greatest heat loss occurs through your head. Wind chill, the combination of cold temperatures and wind, can be a real problem. A twenty mile an hour wind makes a bearable thirty degrees feel like a bitter four degrees. This can have an adverse effect on your body. The strong wind increases the danger of frostbite or hypothermia.

Be especially cautious when venturing out onto an ice covered body of water. An ice thickness of at least four inches is recommended to support a person. Snowmobiles and ATVs need at least five inches of ice, while cars and light trucks require at least eight to 12 inches. Factors which can be used to assess the strength of the ice include the ice appearance, thickness, daily temperature, snow cover, and distribution of the load on the ice. For additional information on winter weather safety, click here.

When winter weather strikes or when you are having winter fun, let us know with posts and pictures on CNYcentralâ??s Facebook page!

Become my facebook friend here by â??likingâ?? my fan page, and "follow" me on Twitter here (@PeteWeatherBeat). For more on your weather forecast, click on â??Weatherâ?? and then the â??Live Triple Doppler Radarâ?? tab on our weather page. Make sure you refresh the Doppler radar to see the very latest information, as well. Furthermore, we have our new Interactive Doppler Radar on our website. You can zoom down to street level with Interactive Doppler Radar. You are in total control of where the radar can zoom in. Give it a try. In addition, you may tune to NBC Weather Plus on Time Warner Cable digital channel 133 or over the air 3.3 to get the very latest weather updates locally and nationally.