Storm Warning: Snow, hazardous driving conditions; Help Chart: Vehicle Preparation and Safety Precautions List

Image by Brett Barrett, St. George News

UTAH STATEWIDE – The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for heavy snow and strong winds which is in effect from noon today to 6 p.m. Saturday. This warning upgrades the storm watch issued earlier this week.

Image radar time 7:30 a.m. Dotted area denotes affected areas. National Weather Service Storm Warning, Utah, Jan. 10, 2013 | Image courtesy of National Weather Service Salt Lake City

* Affected area: The Wasatch and western Uinta mountains of northern Utah, the central and southern mountains of Utah, the Wasatch Plateau and Book Cliffs. Cities included are Woodruff, Randolph, Alta, Brighton, Mirror Lake highway, Scofield, Cove Fort, Koorsharem, Fish Lake, Loa, Panguitch, Bryce Canyon.

* Snow accumulations: Accumulation of 1 to 2 feet. Locally greater amounts likely through the Wasatch and western Uinta mountain ranges.

* Timing: Snow will develop over the northern mountains ahead of the cold front this morning. Snow will spread south and east across the remainder of the mountain areas late this morning, then turn heavy across all mountain areas behind the cold front this afternoon through Friday morning. Snow will continue Friday afternoon and evening with the greatest accumulations across the northern mountains. Snow will turn showery for late Friday night through Saturday.

* Winds: Strong southwest winds are expected today ahead of the cold front. Gusty north winds will follow the front this afternoon through Friday. These winds will create areas of blowing and drifting snow.

* Impacts: The expected heavy snow along with blowing and drifting snow will create hazardous travel conditions through all mountain roadways.

Precautionary/preparedness actions

A winter storm warning means a mixture of heavy snow and strong winds is expected or occurring.

Driving conditions will be hazardous. Use caution. Be prepared for sudden restrictions in visibility due to blowing snow. Keep a winter storm survival kit in your vehicle in case of an emergency.

For winter road conditions from the Utah Department of Transportation:

Visit UDOT’s Road Weather Alerts.

Obtain UDOT’s smartphone travel app.

A recent incident in Washington County, in which a couple became stuck and stranded in a remote area in the snow with grim consequences, serves as a sobering reminder of the dangers attendant to becoming stuck in inclement weather.

Vehicle Preparation and Safety Precautions

for Winter Weather

Stay in your vehicle

• Disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow and cold.

• Run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat.

• Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.

• Make yourself visible to rescuers.

• Turn on the dome light at night when running engine.

• Tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door.

• Raise the hood indicating trouble after snow stops falling.

• Exercise from time to time, by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

• Wear a hat, half your body heat loss can be from the head.

• Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.

• Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves.

• Loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers is best, trapped air insulates and layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chills.

• Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded.

• Safely removing tires and upholstery from your vehicle and lighting them on fire in a cleared area will create smoke to facilitate your being located.

Supplies recommended to be kept in your vehicle in case of emergencies

• Cell phone; portable charger and extra batteries

• Windshield scraper

• Battery-powered radio, extra batteries

• Flashlights, extra batteries

• Snack food

• Extra hats, coats, mittens, change of clothes

• Blankets

• Chains or rope

• Tire chains

• Spare gas

• Canned compressed air with sealant (emergency tire repair)

• Road salt and sand

• Booster / jumper cables

• Emergency flares

• Bright colored flag; help signs

• Lighter / Matches (waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water)

• First Aid kit – (Basic First Aid courses are recommended)

• Spare water

• Hi-lift jack

• Spare tire with keys for locking lug nuts

• Spare keys

• Shovel

• Tow strap

• Tool kit

• Duct tape

• Trash bags

• Road maps

• Compass

• Towels, paper towels

These recommendations have been assimilated from the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue website, the Center for Disease Control’s emergency winter weather checklist, the U.S. Search and Rescue Task Force’s website on blizzard preparedness. The list is suggestive, in no particular order of priority, and should not be presumed to be exhaustive.

Printable / savable pdf: Vehicle Preparation and Safety Precautions for Winter Weather


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Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews


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