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Cold winter weather preparation

Friday, November 9, 2012

Times Staff Report

As cold weather further settles into the heartland, the National Weather Service (NWS) and partners in public safety encourage all Hoosiers to begin preparing now for what could be a cold and snowy winter.

This winter, a weak El Nino weather pattern may have an impact on Indiana.

El Nino is a climate term referring to warmer than normal equatorial Pacific Ocean temperatures that impact global weather patterns.

"For Indiana, a weak El Nino often has brought cold and snowy winters in the past," Warning Coordination Meteorologist of the Indianapolis NWS Office Dave Tucek said. "Winter is nearly here. It's everyone's job to take safe action when the National Weather Service issues winter weather warnings."

"Tornadoes and floods also are concerns for Hoosiers during winter," Meteorologist in Charge Dan McCarthy said. "Indiana had six tornadoes last winter, so being prepared and taking action for any hazard are keys to safety."

"When it comes to preparing for winter, personal responsibility is key," Indiana Department of Homeland Security Director Joe Wainscott said. "Keep a few essential supplies readily available in your home in case a winter storm disrupts utilities or prevents you from being able to travel safely."

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security recommends assembling and maintaining a disaster kit. Ten items to include the disaster kit are:

* Food and water for three days (includes one gallon of water per person, per day),

* Battery operated all hazards radio,

* Flashlight,

* Extra batteries for radio and flashlight,

* First Aid kit,

* Extra clothing, sturdy shoes, blankets, and personal hygiene items,

* List of emergency phone numbers,

* Important documents (copies of photo ID, social security card, insurance and banking information),

* Cash (small bills. Power outages can limit use of ATMs and credit cards), and

* Special items (baby formula, insulin, life sustaining medication, etc.).

"Have a disaster supply kit for your vehicle also," Disaster Public Affairs Spokesperson for the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis Carol Greeley said. "This is a good time to 'winterize' your disaster supply kit for your vehicle. Add warm clothing, extra blankets and hats, mittens, etc., to your kit and make sure your vehicle kit includes bottled water, First Aid supplies, essential medications, extra coats, blankets, flashlights, kitty litter, a small shovel, a candle, metal container and matches and a red cloth to tie on your car to signal for help."

For more information about winter weather, log on to www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter.

For more information about winter preparedness, log on to ww.getprepared.in.gov, or http://1.usa.gov/NWAWinterWeather.

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