Winter is Coming!
It's Winter Weather Awareness Week in Montana!The National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Montana are sponsoring the week to provide information on the different types of winter weather in Montana and how to stay safe during the cold winter months. For more information on the NWS Watch and Warning Program, winter weather climatology, preparing for storms, and weatherwise information, click here.
Winter Survival Kit: Got Yours?
Many people have some sort of a kit thrown together for traveling in Montana in the winter, but do you really have what you need in it? How long have those old granola bars been in there? Did your teenagers take things out while needing something and “forget” to tell you it’s now gone? Check out your kit and make sure it’s ready to go for the winter season.
Basic Items to have in Vehicle Winter Survival Kit:
Cellphone and Charger
High Calorie/Non-Perishable Food
Moist Towelettes/Paper Towels
Tool Kit (i.e. multi-tool)
Additional Items to Consider:
Sleeping Bags and Blankets
Flashlights with Extra Batteries
Small Garbage bags
Small bag of cat litter and/or sand
Hitting the road?
When traveling the northern plains or northern Rockies in wintertime, run through this checklist:
Fuel up and stay above a half tank throughout your trip.
Check the road conditions on Montana Department of Transportation's travel info page by clicking here or call 511
Check the forecast before leaving. Sometimes the roads are good in the location you are leaving from, but conditions may worsen as you get closer to your destination. Click here for travel forecast information.
Tell someone where you are going, what time you leave, and the route you take to get there. Use the better traveled roads. Then call them when you arrive safely. Otherwise, they can alert officials that you are late and perhaps there is a problem.
Don’t use cruise control on icy roads!
If you run into problems, keep the following items in mind:
Use a tow rope, not a chain to pull a vehicle that is stuck. Make sure it is no longer than 6 feet. Chains can backlash, and cause serious injuries or death.
If a chain is the only available item, throw a heavy jacket or blanket over it before attempting to tow a vehicle out.
What if I get stuck?
If you do get stuck, and it looks like you may be in the vehicle for a while:
Stay with the vehicle, unless you can clearly see sturdier/warmer shelter
Run the engine 10 minutes each hour for heat, and crack the window just a bit
Keep the tailpipe clear
A hubcap or visor can be used as a shovel
Burning oil in a hubcap may allow rescuers to find you if conditions have improved
Distress Signal is: Honk your horn for three long blasts, 10 seconds apart. Repeat every 30 seconds.
The four National Weather Service (NWS) offices in Montana will be sharing important winter weather preparedness information this week. Be sure to follow them on Twitter @NWSGlasgow, @NWSBillings, @NWSMissoula, and @NWSGreatFalls or visit their Winter Weather Awareness Week website by clicking here.
This information was compiled by Tanja Fransen, Warning Coordination Meteorologist NOAA/NWS Glasgow, MT.