Get Ready, Ohio! Winter Safety Awareness Week is November 13-19

Columbus, OH – Ohioans are likely to experience wetter-than-average conditions in the Great Lakes this winter, according to NOAA’s U.S. Winter Outlook released by the Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service.

There is also a 75% chance of a weak La Niña, which returns for the third consecutive winter, during the Northern Hemisphere winter (December 2022 – February 2023). A La Niña occurs when the equatorial Pacific Ocean water turns colder than normal. The large area of colder water stretches across the Pacific Ocean and may create a particular storm track and temperature pattern across the U.S.

In a coordinated effort, Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) recognize November 13-19, 2022 as Winter Safety Awareness Week.

“As winter approaches, it is time for all Ohioans to prepare,” said Governor DeWine. “Winter Safety Awareness Week is a good time to replenish emergency supplies, prepare your homes and vehicles for the upcoming winter months, and practice emergency plans.”

No matter the forecast, the OCSWA encourages Ohioans to plan and prepare for the winter season and its hazards.

“Ohio winters can bring extreme temperatures and heavy snow,” said Ohio Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Sima Merick. “However, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms can also occur during the winter months, and Ohioans should be prepared for all types of weather.”

OCSWA recommends the following winter preparedness tips:

 Power Outages: Know which items you and your family need that rely on electricity. Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs when the power goes out, such as a portable charger or power bank. Have flashlights for every household member. Keep a manual can opener handy. Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long your battery backup will last. Keep a car phone charger handy so if the power is out in your home, you can charge your phone in your vehicle.

Prepare winter emergency supply kits for the home and vehicle: Check the expiration dates on nonperishable food items, bottled water/beverages, and medications. Winter emergency kits

should include flashlights, extra batteries, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, a battery-operated radio/weather radio, first aid kit, cell phone and charger, and enough nonperishable food and water (one gallon per person, per day) to sustain every household member for several days. Store food, bottled water, and supplies for your pets, as well.

Know Your Risks:  Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms including blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. A winter storm can last a few hours or several days; cut off heat, power and communication service; put older adults, children, those with functional and access needs and pets at greater risk.

Pet and Livestock Preparedness: Your pets are an important member of your family, so they need to be included in your family’s emergency plan. If you have a plan in place for you and your pets, you will likely encounter less difficulty, stress, and worry when you need to make a decision during an emergency. Keep your veterinarian’s contact number in your communications plan.

During weather events, getting reliable, accurate, and timely communications is important. Always get your emergency information, communications, warnings, and notifications from reliable sources. This is your chance to lessen or eliminate some of the risks associated with winter weather by preparing in advance!