RICHMOND, Va. – Five counties in southeast Virginia are under a winter storm watch, while other parts of Central Virginia are expected to receive around one to three inches of snow.
Experts say the time to get prepared is now. These four things will help you be best prepared for snow; the majority of this falls under “better to be prepared than have regrets.”
The weather event
There will be two possible snow events from Thursday to Saturday.
A disturbance will swing through late Thursday afternoon into early Friday morning. There will not be a lot of energy or moisture to work with so snowfall will be scattered and light.
Some spots could pick up a heavy coating, with the best chance of that north of I-64.
A larger storm will arrive Friday evening into Saturday.
The track of this storm head southeast, but it should be close enough to produce accumulating snow. Temperatures during most of this period should be at or below freezing, so it will fall primarily as all snow. The initial hour or two may be rain or a mix.
Snow should begin Friday evening, after the evening commute, and continue into Saturday morning. Temperatures Friday night will drop into the 20s, making the snow very powdery.
Snow will taper off from northwest to southeast by late Saturday morning. Highs Saturday afternoon will be around freezing.
With the current proposed storm track, snowfall well north and west of the metro will be pretty light, a coating to an inch. Within the metro, 1-3″ will be possible, and some higher 3″+ amounts may occur across far southeastern Virginia.
Precise snowfall amounts are still in question, and as more data becomes available, the forecast will be updated and fine-tuned.
Take the time to prepare a winter survival kit for your home
The winter kits should include several days’ of non-perishable items such as bread, crackers, cereal, canned foods, and dried fruits. Make sure if you have children that there is baby food and formula. The recommended amount of clean, bottled water is five gallons per person.
An emergency supplies list should include an alternate way to stay warm during a power failure, such as kerosene for a kerosene heater or extra blankets, sleeping bags, and warm winter coats.
Make sure you have matches, a first aid kit and instruction manual, candles, flashlight or battery-powered lantern, battery-powered radio, battery-powered clock or watch, extra batteries, non-electric can opener, snow shovel, rock salt, any special needs items (diapers, hearing aid batteries, medications, etc.)
If your area is prone to long periods of cold temperatures, or if your home is isolated, stock additional amounts of food, water, and medicine.
Now is the time to take out some cash to use in the event of an emergency.
Prepare your home for the coming storm
If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, make sure your chimney or flue has been inspected. Make sure there is a working smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated.
Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze. To the extent possible, weatherproof your home by adding weatherstripping, insulation, insulated doors and storm windows, or thermal-pane windows. Locate your water shutoff.
Read over the five things you should do if your pipes freeze.
Check for and remove any limbs that could fall on power lines or the house. Contact the power company to clear limbs near power lines.
Fill extra gas cans.
Be able to locate important personal documents in the event of a catastrophe that forces you to leave the house.
Make sure to have a communication checklist
Listen to emergency broadcasts and weather forecasts. Download the CBS 6 WTVR weather app for up-to-the-minute forecasts. Get your phone batteries charged, and all devices you may use.
Make a family communication plan. Your family may not be together during a winter event, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together, and what you will do during an emergency.
Be sure to check on older neighbors and family members; assist as necessary.
Know what these winter storm warning terms mean:
Winter Weather Advisory: Expect winter weather condition (e.g., accumulation of snow, freezing rain, and sleet) that could cause severe inconvenience and life-threatening hazards.
Frost/Freeze Warning: Expect below-freezing temperatures.
Winter Storm Watch: Be alert; a storm is likely.
Winter Storm Warning: Take action; the storm is in or entering the area.
Blizzard Warning: Seek refuge immediately! Snow and strong winds, near-zero visibility, deep snow drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.
Other terms available from NOAA can be read here.
Look over your car and emergency checklist
Get gas in your car ahead of the storm. Check your antifreeze, oil, and wiper fluid.
Minimize travel, but if travel is necessary, keep the following in your vehicle, as applicable:
- Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries
- Windshield scraper
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Snack food
- Extra hats, coats, and mittens
- Chains or rope
- Tire chains
- Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
- Road salt and sand
- Jumper cables
- Emergency flares
- Bright colored flag or help signs
- First aid kit
- Tool kit
- Road maps
- Waterproof matches and a can to melt snow for water
- Paper towels