A winter storm in New England can range from a moderate snowfall over a few hours to a Nor’easter, bringing blizzard conditions with blinding wind-driven snow that lasts several days. Rhode Island’s Emergency Management Agency and FEMA have several ways you can keep your family safe.
Know the Terms
- Winter Storm Watch – Be alert. A storm is likely.
- Winter storm Warning – Take action. The storm is in or entering the area.
- Blizzard Warning – Snow and strong winds combined will produce blinding snow, near-zero visibility, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately.
- Winter Weather Advisory – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous, especially to motorists.
- Frost/Freeze Warning – Below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause damage to plants, crops or fruit trees.
If winter weather’s approaching, you may need more than bread and milk. Everyone should have supplies that would prepare them to survive on their own for at least three days. Supplies should include:
- Non-perishable food
- Bottled water
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio
- MORE: Winter Weather Supply List
Stay Warm & Safe
- Have sufficient heating fuel, as regular sources may be cut off.
- Have emergency heating equipment and fuel (a gas fireplace, wood burning stove or fireplace) so you can keep at least one room livable.
- Be sure the room is well ventilated.
- Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows to keep cold air out.
- Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide insulation.
- To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.
- Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing.
- Know how to shut off water valves.
- If pipes freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they are most exposed to the cold. A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution, also works well.