How to stay safe as snow, winter weather forecast in Missouri
Freezing rain, snowfall and cold temperatures are expected across Missouri over the next few days. Before winter weather, preparations can be made to stay safe at home and on the road.
If possible, stay indoors; if outside, protect yourself from the risk of winter storms
The American Red Cross advises wearing dry, layered clothing and covering your mouth to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
Pay attention to symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. Symptoms of hypothermia include confusion, dizziness and exhaustion. Frostbite manifests as numbness, gray, white, blue, or yellow discoloration of the skin, and a waxy feeling. Immediate medical attention is needed if these symptoms appear.
Assemble the Emergency Preparedness Kit
Emergency kits can be prepared year-round in the event of a power outage or lack of road access. The Red Cross recommends the following items:
- Water, one gallon per person per day
- Non-perishable food
- Flash light
- Battery or crank radio
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medicines needed
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation items
- Copies of personal documents, such as a list of medications and proof of address
- Mobile phone with chargers
- Emergency contact details
- extra money
- Emergency cover
The MoDOT asks drivers to stay home during extreme weather conditions. If this is not possible, vehicles should be equipped with a similar emergency kit. Additionally, vehicle safety kits should include a small shovel, jumper cables, a brightly-covered rag to use as a flag, and a small sandbag to use for wheel traction.
Following:Missouri Legislature halts proceedings for remainder of week as winter storm approaches
Following:MoDOT and City of Springfield Prepare Trucks for Winter Storm
If you get trapped in a car, stay inside and display a trouble signal on the antenna
According to MoDOT, a stranded driver must run the vehicle’s engine every 10 minutes per hour, clear snow from the exhaust pipe, and open a window for ventilation. Use extra blankets, maps and car mats for extra insulation. Tie a shiny cloth or something similar to the antenna as a flag for help.
If using a space heater, place it on a hard, flat, non-flammable surface
Avoid placing space heaters on rugs, carpets or near flammable materials, such as bedding and curtains. The Red Cross recommends plugging heater power cords directly into wall outlets, not extension cords.
Space heaters and fires in fireplaces should not be left unattended. When you leave a room or go to bed, turn off the heaters.
Protect water pipes from freezing at temperatures below 32 degrees
Take the following precautions when protecting water lines, suggested by the Red Cross:
- If there are supply lines in a garage, keep the garage doors closed;
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow hot air to circulate around the plumbing;
- Let the cold water run from the faucets;
- Keep the thermostat set at the same temperature;
- If you’re leaving, set the thermostat to no less than 55 degrees.
If the pipes freeze, keep the faucet open and apply heat to the section of pipe using a coin-operated electric heater, hair dryer, space heater, or by wrapping the pipe with towels soaked in hot water. Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If the pipe cannot be thawed, call a plumber.
Bring pets indoors to ensure they have access to appropriate resources
Like humans, cats and dogs can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. Pets should be brought indoors if the temperature is 35 degrees or lower, according to a press release from the Humane Society of Missouri.
Once inside, owners should check their pet’s paws for signs of cold damage, such as cracked paw pads, redness and bleeding. For more information on caring for pets during the winter, click here.
If an animal in distress is found, call the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314-647-4400.