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How to Prepare for a Winter Storm

By Molly Cochran, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
February 22, 2013; 11:00 AM

The NOAA winter weather watches and warnings have different meanings. A Winter Storm Watch means there will be severe weather conditions but their location and occurrence are still uncertain, according to NOAA. The watch is issued 12 to 36 hours notice of the particular storm. A Winter Storm Warning is when four or more inches of snow or sleet is expected in the next 12 hours, six or more inches in 24 hours, or 1/4 of an inch or more of ice accretion is expected. Weather Advisories are to inform you that weather conditions will cause significant inconveniences and to use caution. A Blizzard Warning means that snow and strong winds will combine to produce a blinding snow, deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.

Source is NOAA

A winter weather emergency kit is necessary for staying safe during inclement weather. A home safety kit could include, a flashlight, food and water supply for a few days, heating fuel, first aid, batteries, and access to your local weather forecast.

"The best tip for winter driving is to stay home," said Craig Smith, the public relations and public safety director for the North Penn AAA.

If you must travel in inclement weather, Smith said to try and wait until a snowplow has gone through. Some other tips for winter weather travel are to make sure to winterize your vehicle and travel with more than a half of a tank of gas and to tell relatives or friends where and when you will be arriving and try not to travel alone. Smith also advised travelers to avoid potentially icy areas such as bridges, intersections and highway ramps. Try not to use cruise control during inclement weather.

Smith wanted to remind drivers that all rear-drive vehicles could also get into trouble when driving in bad weather.

"Remember technology isn't always better," Smith said.

Keep a safety kit in your vehicle as well that contains enough materials that could last you up to a few days. Some materials to store in your car safety kit are:

- waterproof matches

- collapsible shovel

- blankets

- hats

- gloves

- flashlight

- charged cell phone

- first aid kit

- non-perishable foods

- water

- windshield scraper

- jumper cables

- tool kit

- maps

Some other additions that Smith made to the emergency kit were to keep cat litter in your car for traction and a camera to document and damage to your vehicle or weather conditions.

"Look at temperatures and be mindful of 33 degrees; because of wet ice, this is the worst to drive in," Smith said.

According to Smith, the North Penn AAA prepares to receive double the calls during winter storms.

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