arrow08Winter Weather Information

City of Hays, KS > Public Announcements > Emergency Info > Winter Weather >

arrow08When Winter
   Storms Occur

In the continental United States, winter storms are common from November through April, and sometimes as early as October or as late as May.

The winter dip in the jet stream allows polar air to surge south. This cold, dry air brings with it temperatures cold enough for snow, sleet, or freezing rain to develop

arrow08Winter Storm Warning

A Winter Storm Warning is a significant winter storm or hazardous winter weather is occurring, imminent, or likely, and is a threat to life and property

Injuries Due To Ice and Snow.

  • About 70% result from vehicle accidents
  • About 25% occur in people caught
    out in a storm
  • Most happen to males over 40 years old

arrow08Weather Bulletins

Weather bulletins are issued by the National Weather Service on the radio,
TV, and Internet. These announcements give the location and course of severe weather by county or parish. An online interactive weather map displaying Warnings and Watches, can be accessed at the following Internet address:

Interactive Weather
Information Network

arrow08Winter Storm Watch

A Winter Storm Watch is a significant winter weather (ie. heavy snow, heavy sleet, significant freezing rain, or a combination of events) is expected, but not imminent, for the watch area; provides 12 to 36 hours notice of the possibility of severe winter weather.

Injuries Related to Cold

  • 50% happen to people over 60 years old
  • More than 75% happen to males
  • About 20% occur in the home

arrow08Before a Storm
   Strikes at Home

  • Primary concerns are loss of heat, power and telephone service and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day.

Have the following available:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information. These maybe your only links to the outside.
  • Extra food and water. Have high energy food, such as dried fruit, nuts and granola bars, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration.
  • Extra medicine and baby items. First-aid supplies.
  • Heating fuel. Refuel before you are empty. Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a winter storm.
  • Emergency heat source: fireplace, wood stove, space heater.
    • Be sure you know the proper usage and provide proper ventilation for space heaters. Keep space heaters at least three feet way from furnishings, drapes, and all flammable objects. Turn them off when you leave a room.
    • NEVER drape wet clothes, gloves, hats, or socks over a space heater to dry.
  • Fire extinguisher & smoke alarm
  • Make sure pets have plenty of food, water and shelter.

arrow08Before a Storm
   Strikes in Vehicles

  • Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the storm!
  • Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins.
    • Mobile phone, charger,     batteries
    • Blankets/sleeping bags
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • First-aid kit
    • Knife
    • High-calorie, nonperishable food
    • Extra clothing to keep dry
    • Large empty can to use as emergency toilet. Tissues and paper towels for sanitary purposes
    • Small can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water
    • Sack of sand or cat litter for traction
    • Shovel
    • Windshield scraper and brush
    • Tool kit
    • Tow rope
    • Battery booster cables
    • Water container
    • Compass and road maps.
  • Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Avoid traveling alone.
  • Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.

arrow08Before a Storm Strikes
   On the Farm / Pets

  • Move animals to sheltered areas. Shelter belts, properly laid out and oriented, are better protection for cattle than confining shelters, such as sheds.
  • Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.
  • Have water available. Most animals die from dehydration in winter storms.
  • Make sure pets have plenty of food, water and shelter.   NOAA  

arrow08Caught in a Winter
   Storm Outside

  • Wear several layers of clothing. Layers will keep you warmer than a single heavy coat. Gloves and a hat will keep you from losing body heat.
  • Find shelter
    • Try to stay dry.
    • Cover all exposed body parts.
  • If No shelter:
    • Build a lean-to, windbreak or snow cave for protection from the wind.
    • Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
    • Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
  • Melt snow for drinking water
    • Eating snow will lower your body temperature.

arrow08Caught in a Winter   
   Storm in a Vehicle

Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the storm!

  • Stay in vehicle:
    • You will become quickly disoriented in wind-driven snow and cold.
    • Run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat.
    • Open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
  • Be visible to rescuers:
    • Turn on the dome light at night when running the engine.
    • Tie a colored cloth, preferably red, to your antenna or door.
    • After snow stops falling, raise the hood to indicate you need help.
  • Exercise:  From time to time, move arms, legs, fingers and toes vigorously to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

arrow08Caught in a Winter
   Storm Inside

  • Stay inside: When using alternate heat form a fireplace, wood stove space heater, etc., use fire safeguards and properly ventilate.
  • No heat:
    • Close off unneeded rooms.
    • Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.
    • Cover windows at night.
    • Eat and drink. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration.
    • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill.      NOAA

arrow08Wind Chill

  • Wind chill is not the actual temperature but rather how wind and cold feel on exposed skin. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. Animals are also affected by wind chill; however, cars, plants and other objects are not.
  • Frostbite - is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of -20 Fahrenheit (F) will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately! If you must wait for help, slowly rewarm affected areas. However, if the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.
  • Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95F. It can kill. For those who survive, there are likely to be lasting kidney, liver and pancreas problems. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. Take the person's temperature. If below 95F, seek medical care immediately!
  • If Medical Care is Not Available, warm the person slowly, starting with the body core. Warming the arms and legs first drives cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure. If necessary, use your body heat to help. Get the person into dry clothing and wrap in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Do not give the person alcohol, drugs, coffee or any hot beverage or food. Warm broth is the first food to offer.

arrow08Winter Weather Links



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