Winter Storms

Be prepared and stay safe

Frozen rain, sleet, snow and wind can cause power outages, shut down public services and make traveling especially hazardous. Don’t let winter’s worst catch you off guard.


Stay informed. Sign up for local weather alerts and warnings. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts. Consider purchasing a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio. Stock emergency supplies. Expanded winter-weather preparedness checklists are available at Here are a few essentials to think about as you get ready: Our hurricane-preparedness checklist also offers lots of good tips that can help during any weather-related event. Winterize your home. Stay warm indoors, and take steps to withstand the elements. Make sure your furnace has been checked by a professional. Repair leaks in caulking and weather stripping around doors and windows. Cover drafty windows with drapes, insulating shades or even plastic. If you have a chimney, keep the damper closed when not in use. Prioritize safety. Install new batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and test them. Make sure you have working fire extinguishers on hand. Make a family communication plan. Make sure you have the most recent family-contact information, and be sure to “test” your contact phone numbers and email addresses. FEMA provides a step-by-step guide to creating your family emergency communication plan. Secure important documents. Review your property insurance, and safeguard critical documents in a sealed waterproof container or strongbox. Prepare your vehicle. Only drive during a storm event if absolutely necessary, but make sure your vehicle is winterized, fill your gas tank and prepare an emergency kit:
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight
  • Warm clothes
  • Blankets
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable snacks.

During the storm

Avoid carbon monoxide risk. Never use a gas-powered generator, portable stove, charcoal grill or gasoline or propane heater indoors. They can lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, accidental fires and electric shock. Don’t heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven. Stay off the roads. If you must drive, take along your emergency supply kit. In the event of a breakdown, stay inside your vehicle. Limit time outdoors. Stay dry. Bring pets indoors. Keep walkways safe with deicing salt. Use your furnace efficiently. Close off rooms you’re not using. Dress in layers and use blankets for extra warmth.


Only drive if necessary. Remove snow and ice from your tailpipe before starting your car, and check regularly if idling. Clean all snow and ice from your car before driving. Keep warm and dry. Use waterproof boots and gloves. Dress in layers. Prevent prolonged exposure to cold and wind. Avoid overexertion. Know the signs and basic treatments for hypothermia and frostbite. If clearing and shoveling snow, be aware of overexertion, which can lead to a medical emergency. Check in with friends, family and neighbors. Stay connected and make sure to check on the elderly or those who are vulnerable to weather events during and after the storm.

Helpful resources

  • Find more quick tips on winter storm preparation, download checklists and find more helpful links.
  • Download an extensive, user-friendly guide to winter-storm preparedness, a checklist and additional resources.
  • Winter driving Learn how to winterize your vehicle and how to handle road conditions and emergencies.
  • Learn symptoms and basic treatments for hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Winterizing your home Get more tips on staying warm and prepared.
  • National Weather Service
  • FEMA Mobile App

Emergency and Community mobile apps



This app includes preparedness tips, emergency kit checklists, recovery and safety information, a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center location map and ways you can get involved before and after a disaster.




Connect and communicate with your neighbors and help each other stay safe during and after an emergency or disaster.