It's getting colder; don't let your stockpile grow olderWinter storms occur every year, bringing icy roads, cold temperatures and other dangers with them. While some storms are mild, others can result in a shutdown of major services, power outages and even loss of life.

Science shows that there’s more at play than just Jack Frost nipping at our nose here. Climate change can make winter storms more severe and last longer. As the oceans warm, parts of the U.S. will continue to see more extreme winter weather.

This winter’s forecast calls for colder than average temperatures in the North and East, warmer than average temperatures in the South and West and both wetter and drier conditions, depending upon the region. Large swings in temperature and precipitation are expected.

Before you make like a bear and hunker down inside for the winter, there are a few steps you should take to make sure that you are safe and prepared for a winter storm.

  1. Update your stockpile or prepare an emergency kit that includes a first-aid kit, flashlight, batteries and other important items you and your family will need during a storm.
  2. Include a solar- or battery-operated cellphone charger in your supplies.
  3. Weatherize your home by making sure it is well-insulated to prevent cold air from coming in.
  4. Prepare your car by checking your tires, brakes and car heater.
  5. Make sure your car’s emergency supplies are up to date, including food, water and blankets.

If you have to go out during or after a storm:

  • Drive during the day to avoid traveling on black ice in the dark.
  • Bundle up! Wear warm clothes, gloves, hats and scarves. 
  • Walk carefully on sidewalks and crosswalks to avoid injury from slipping and falling.

Get more tips in our winter storms fact sheet, and check out APHA's Get Ready "winter ready" page for even more tools to read and share.

A version of this article was published on APHA's Get Ready blog.