Winter Storms

Snowfall totals vary greatly in Maryland. Garrett County in far western Maryland often receives as much snow as areas of the central plains and interior areas of New York and New England. Areas of the lower Eastern Shore often have little or no snow during a winter season. In the populous central part of the state, snow totals can vary greatly from one season to the next. Many winter storms are accompanied by low temperatures and sometimes, strong winds, ice, sleet, and freezing rain. Severe winter weather has the potential to knock out heat, power, and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days.

Before

  • Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
  • Fully winterize your vehicle and keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Include adequate clothing and blankets in your ready kit to keep you warm.

During

  • ​Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly
  • Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).

After

Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Related Resources

  
  
Ready.gov Emergency Plan.aspx
  
Ready.gov Supply Checklists.aspx
  
Ready.gov - Winter Weather Information.aspx
  
NOAA Winter Weather Safety and Awareness.aspx