Texas Emergency Management ONLINE2013 Vol. 60 No. 11

Message From The Chief

Winter Weather Awareness Day

As we roll into November, I wonder how many Texans are actually worrying much about winter weather. As you know, the weather in Texas can change quickly and dramatically, and no part of the state is immune to dangerous winter weather events!  Sometimes I feel bad for my kids.  Even when it is bright and sunny outside, I am constantly reminding them to “take a jacket!” and “have you checked the weather app on your iPhone?” (what a sign of the times…).

This past February a historic blizzard struck the Amarillo area with 50 to 60 mph wind gusts and 17 inches of snow; the storm blanketed the Texas Panhandle.

A rare winter storm covered south Texas in as much as 13 inches of snow from Victoria to Brownsville in December 2004.

North Texas is regularly plagued by debilitating ice storms, as recently as 2011.

And, if you were alive and living in Seminole on February 8, 1933, you probably remember the day the temperature dropped to -23 degrees, the coldest temperature ever recorded in Texas. (That would make you over 80 years old…)

November 13, 2013 is Winter Weather Awareness Day in Texas, and winter weather too often catches people unprepared. Even if you are running around in shorts and a t-shirt, (…like my kids want to) take some time on Texas Winter Weather Awareness Day to see how prepared you and your family are for dealing with possible severe winter weather.

How can you prepare? Add the following supplies to your home emergency supply kit:

  • Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways
  • Sand to improve traction
  • Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.

If you don’t have an emergency supply kit, a checklist to build one is available at:  Texas Prepares Supply Kit. How long could you and your family survive at home if you were unable to get to a store?

Minimize travel. Winter Weather Awareness Day is a great opportunity to make sure your vehicles are winter ready. Keep a disaster supplies kit in all your vehicles. If you have to get out, keep in mind that as much as 70 percent of fatalities related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.

Be familiar with winter weather terminology. Do you know the difference between freezing rain and sleet, between a winter weather advisory and a winter storm warning?

We all know winter weather is coming, and the potential for severe winter weather is possible anywhere in Texas. Don’t be caught off guard; prepare now.

Chief W. Nim Kidd, CEM®

Follow me @chiefkidd on Twitter, and you can also follow
Texas Division of Emergency Management on Twitter @TDEM

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