Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Portland, ME
NOUS41 KGYX 041016
Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Gray ME
618 AM EST Fri Nov 4 2016
The National Weather Service offices that serve New England have
declared the week of October 31st through November 4th, WINTER
WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK. In conjunction with WINTER WEATHER
AWARENESS WEEK, the National Weather Service Office in Gray will be
issuing Public Information Statements concerning many aspects of
winter weather and winter weather preparedness. This is the last
in a series of five Public Information Statements to be issued this
...WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS...
In northern New England, everyone is potentially at risk during
winter storms and cold weather. The actual threat to you depends
on your specific situation, the amount of risk you`re willing to
take, and how prepared you are for the possibility that something
may go wrong.
Based on statistics, the majority of winter weather-related
fatalities are men, probably because men take more risks, and do not
prepare for the possibility that something may go wrong. The
majority of the fatalities related to snow and ice are actually men
over 40 years old. About 70 percent of the fatalities occur in
automobiles while about 25 percent are people caught out in the
storm. As for the hypothermia-related fatalities, about 75 percent
are men, about 50 percent of the fatalities are people over 60 years
old, and about 20 percent of the fatalities occur inside the home.
Before winter begins, be sure that your vehicle is ready for winter
conditions. Check the antifreeze and battery to make sure they can
withstand northern New England`s cold winter temperatures. Check
your tires to be sure that you will have adequate traction in the
snow. And keep your gas tank near full to avoid water and ice in
the fuel or fuel lines.
To the extent possible, try to avoid traveling in dangerous
conditions. Don`t take chances. Be prepared for the possibility
that you may become stuck and stranded, particularly if you drive
on infrequently traveled roads. When riding in a car, be sure to
have the appropriate winter clothing with you. If you get stranded
on the way to where you`re going, you will need those warm clothes.
In a storm, whether big or small, allow extra time to get where
you`re going. The first 1/2 inch of snow is sometimes the most
slippery. Slow down. When driving, remember that there are many
hazards, such as black ice, that you won`t see before it`s too late.
Keep all your windows clear of snow and ice and clear snow away from
your car`s headlights and taillights. Be sure that someone who is
not traveling with you is aware of your travel plans. Also,
consider purchasing a cellular phone if you frequently travel in
isolated areas in the winter.
If you should happen to become stranded in a storm or in extremely
cold conditions, stay with your vehicle. Run the motor about 10
minutes each hour for heat. Make sure that the exhaust pipe is not
blocked and that there is adequate ventilation to avoid carbon
monoxide poisoning. As much as possible, make your vehicle visible
to rescuers by tying a red-colored cloth to the antenna or by turning
on the inside dome light while running the engine. Move your arms,
legs, fingers, and toes to keep blood circulating and warm.
When planning winter activities, keep abreast of the latest
forecast. Be willing to change your plans if the weather is bad.
When going outside in the winter, always dress for the outside
conditions, even if you plan to be outside for only a few minutes.
Remember, if you happen to slip and fall, you could be outside for
a lot longer than you had planned. Always stay warm, and wear
layered clothing to trap the body`s heat. If needed, you can put
on or take off clothing to help regulate your body temperature. When
outside in the winter, try to avoid becoming overheated.
Perspiration can rapidly cool the body to below normal levels.
Your home is likely the safest place to be during a winter storm.
However, you should prepare for the possibility that you might lose
heat, phone service, electricity, and water during a storm. In
preparation for this possibility, keep an ample supply of extra food
and water, and make sure that you have a sufficient supply of any
needed medicines. Have a battery operated radio and flashlights
ready in case they are needed, and have plenty of extra batteries
available. If possible, have an alternate source of electricity or
heat, but be absolutely sure that you know how to operate that
alternate source safely. If you plan to use an electrical
generator, make sure the generator is connected properly to your
home`s electrical system, and that smoke and carbon monoxide
detectors operating properly to alert you to any unanticipated
If you do lose power to your home during a winter storm, be extremely
careful with those alternate sources of heat and electricity. Close
off any unneeded rooms and be sure your smoke detectors are working
properly. Too avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, operate electrical
generators outside in a well ventilated area, and be sure that the
fumes are not being blown back into your home. Wear layered clothing
to keep warm and be sure to eat plenty of food and drink plenty of
liquids so that your body can produce the heat it needs to stay warm.
PREPAREDNESS TIP FOR THE DAY:
Before winter begins, put together a winter storm survival kit for
your vehicle. Take an old coat, old clothes, and an old pair of
boots; put them all in a duffel bag; and throw that duffel bag in
the back of your vehicle. Also, throw in a sleeping bag and/or warm
blankets. High calorie, non-perishable foods should be included as
they will help your body stay warm if you become stranded for a
prolonged period of time.
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
During the January 1998 ice storm and recovery period, which of the
hazards associated with the storm caused the most injuries and
ANSWER:While it is difficult to document all the auto accidents
and all the ice related injuries, the National Weather
Service does keep track of fatalities that are directly
attributed to storms (does not include auto accidents).
During the ice storm and recovery period, 8 people died
in Maine and New Hampshire as a result of the storm.
Carbon monoxide poisoning was responsible for 3 deaths,
hypothermia was responsible for 3 deaths, 1 person was
killed while cleaning up fallen debris, and one person was
killed from a roof collapse. In addition, a utility
worker was seriously injured by a falling tree, and an
estimated 300 to 400 people suffered some level of carbon
Here`s a listing of the topics that have been covered in Public
Information Statements during WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK.
Monday...October 31 - Winter Weather Basics.
Tuesday...November 1 - WATCH...WARNING...and ADVISORY criteria
for winter storms.
Wednesday...November 2 - Wind Chill...Extreme Cold... Frostbite
Thursday...November 3 - High Wind...Coastal Flood...and Dense
Friday...November 4 - Winter Weather Preparedness
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE