Cold Weather Tips and Resources

  • Keeping Children Safe (Resources from Minnesota Department of Public Safety)

    • Stay inside. During snowstorms, blowing snow and cold can make it hard to see and easy to get lost — even close to home. Wait until the storm is gone to go outside.
    • Dress right. When going out to play after a storm, dress in snowsuits or layers of clothing, waterproof coat and boots, mittens or gloves and a hat. Avoid cotton clothing or socks as they can soak up water and offer little warmth.
    • Wear a hat. Body heat is lost through the head, so always wear a hat or hood. Cover your ears, too. They are easily subject to frostbite.
    • Wear gloves. Mittens are even better than gloves, because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other.
    • Use a scarf. Keep your neck warm. A scarf can also be worn over your mouth to help protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
    • Warm up. Go inside often for warm-up breaks. Long periods of exposure to severe cold and wind increase the risk of frostbite or hypothermia. If you start to shiver a lot or get very tired, or if skin turns numb or pale on your nose, fingers, toes or earlobes, go inside right away and tell an adult!
    • Stay near adults. Always play near home or where there are adults nearby who can help you. Even familiar places can look different in winter, so don’t get lost.
    • Stay away from streets and snowplows. Plows can’t slow down or turn quickly, and the snow and salt they throw is dirty and can hurt you. Cars may be sliding; they could hit you if you’re in the street.
    • Stay off of ice. Unless a lake or pond has been checked by an adult for thickness and safety, don’t go out on the ice.

     Additional Info From the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

    Tips from Minnesota Department of Transportation

    Pay Attention

    • Stay alert, especially at night.
    • Stay off cell phones and mobile devices.
    • Call 511 or visit www.511mn.org before leaving on your trip to get current road conditions.
    • Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.
    • Turn off your cruise control.
    • Slow down; allow at least 10 car lengths between your vehicle and a plow.
    • Stay behind the snowplow. The road behind a snowplow is safer to drive on.
    • Watch for snowplows that turn or exit frequently, and often with little warning.
    • Never drive into a snow cloud.

    Respect Snowplows

    • Be patient, and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
    • Stay back at least 10 car lengths between your vehicle and a plow.
    • Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning.
    • They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
    • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.

    Tips from the National Weather Service

    Don’t’ get caught unprepared.

    • Check the Forecast at weather.gov or your favorite weather app, station, etc.: Make checking the forecast part of your regular routine so you'll know when to expect cold weather.
    • Adjust Your Schedule: If possible, adjust your schedule to avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day, typically the early morning. Try to find a warm spot for your children while waiting for the school bus outside.
    • Protect Your Pets, Livestock and other Property: If you have pets or farm animals, make sure they have plenty of food and water, and are not overly exposed to extreme cold. Take precautions to ensure your water pipes do not freeze. Know the temperature thresholds of your plants and crops.
    • Fill up the tank: Make sure your car or vehicle has at least a half a tank of gas during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded.
    • Dress for the outdoors even if you don't think you'll be out much .

    Stay diligent after it warms up.

    • Check Your Pipes: Your pipes may be frozen. Water pipes on exterior walls and in places that are subject to cold, like in the basement, attic, and under kitchen cabinets, freeze most often. Water expands as it freezes, causing pipes to burst. If they are frozen, first turn on the faucet. Water will drip as you warm the pipes. Heat the pipes using a space heater, heating pad, electric hair dryer, or hot water on a cloth. Never use an open flame. Continue until water pressure returns to normal or call a plumber if you have more issues.
    • Salt Your Walkways: Once it warms up enough to out, it's important to shovel the snow from your sidewalks and driveway or sprinkle salt if there is ice.. If there is a thick layer of snow on the ground you cannot move, salt the area so that the snow melts. You should also put down salt if there is ice on your stairs leading into your house--less than a quarter inch of ice can be dangerous!
    • Call Your Neighbors: Check to see that your neighbors are okay after the storm, particularly seniors, disabled persons or others living alone. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms, particularly when there are power outages. Cases of frostbite and hypothermia are also common for elderly people who were stuck in their homes.
    • Refill Your Supplies: This storm may be over, but there might be another one soon. Every storm is different, so it is important to always be prepared.