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Essentials Needed to Survive a Winter Storm

UPDATED December 4, 2013

By WeatherBug Meteorologists


When a winter storm is headed your way, there are a number of things to have at your disposal before the first snowflakes start to fall. Here is a list of the top 5 items:

Supply of non-perishable food and water: Have at least a 3-day supply of water and non-perishable foods. This includes high-energy food such as granola bars, peanuts, crackers and canned tuna. Don`t forget to have an adequate supply of diapers, baby food and formula as well as pet food.

Flashlight, fully charged cell phone and generator or kerosene heater: Have a flashlight and battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA Weather Radio at your disposal along with extra batteries if you lose power. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. Make sure if you have a generator running to keep it outside to avoid breathing toxic, and potentially deadly, fumes. A portable stove or kerosene heater should have adequate ventilation as well.

Rock salt, (non-clumping) kitty litter and a shovel: Sand, rock salt or kitty litter will help to make walkways and steps less slippery. Have a shovel to tackle the snow mounds, but take frequent breaks and scoop smaller amounts to avoid overexertion.

Warm clothing and essential medications: Be sure to dress in layers with a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hats, water-resistant boots and blankets. This will be especially helpful if you lose power and have to rely on a back-up generator to keep warm. Make sure you have a full supply of necessary medications in case you are unable to get out of the house for a few days.

Car winter survival kit: This should include jumper cables, a flashlight, reflectors, blanket, warm gloves, kitty litter or bag of sand, and a sturdy ice scraper. Keep the gas tank full in case you get stuck and need to stay warm while waiting for assistance. When the car is running, make sure the tailpipe is free of snow, otherwise, poisonous carbon monoxide can build inside the car.

Remembering these few simple things will go a long way in ensuring your safety during a major winter storm.

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Story Image: A Wyoming Department of Transportation plow clears snow from the northbound lane of Highway 85 near Jay Em, Wyo., on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. (David Zalubowski, AP)

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