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December 1-7 is Winter Weather Awareness Week in Kentucky

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East Kentuckians are no strangers to harsh winter weather, having dealt with multiple winter storms in recent years.  While it's been mild recently, now is the time to prepare for the annual return of cold and snow.  The National Weather Service offices that serve the state of Kentucky along with the Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee have designated December 1-7 as Winter Weather Awareness Week across the Commonwealth. 

Each year, dozens of Americans die due to exposure to the cold.  Even more fatalities occur in vehicle accidents, fires caused by heaters, or due to carbon monoxide poisoning from the improper use of generators during power outages.  The aftermath of a winter storm can also have an impact on a community for days, weeks or even months. 

“Winter brings the threat of all types of hazardous weather, from heavy snow, ice and cold, to thunderstorms and flooding," said Shawn Harley, Meteorologist in Charge at the Jackson, Kentucky Weather Forecast Office. “Being prepared and staying weather aware is the key to keeping you and your family safe this coming winter.” 

Building a Weather-Ready East Kentucky starts at home and one of the most effective ways families can prepare for any disaster is to build an emergency kit.  A basic emergency kit should have a three day supply of food, water and medicine, along with the essential supplies the family will need in the event of a prolonged power outage when travel is not possible.  

Know the severe weather risks your community faces and monitor weather forecasts.  When a winter storm is in the forecast, communicate with family members and know their location and travel plans.  Make sure all family members are able to get emergency alerts.

While the best idea is to just stay home during winter storms, sometimes that's not possible.  Winterize your vehicle now, while the weather is warm, and keep an emergency kit in your car.  Weather conditions can vary greatly within short distances here in the mountains so make sure to check the forecast and road conditions along your route of travel.  Road conditions and additional snow and ice information from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet can be found on the new snowky.ky.gov website.

Winter Weather Awareness Week is a perfect time for families, communities, schools and businesses to review their plans and to build or resupply their emergency kits.  To help that effort, the National Weather Service in Jackson will share winter weather preparedness information throughout the week via the web, Facebook and Twitter.  Partner organizations and the media are also encouraged to participate and the National Weather Service has made various winter weather preparedness articles, infographics and social media plans available for use at http://www.weather.gov/jkl/winterawareness

Organizations that would like to partner with the National Weather Service to build a Weather-Ready Nation should consider becoming a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador.  The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative is intended for organizations and designed to help serve the public by strengthening our national resilience against extreme weather events.  For more information and to apply, go to http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/ambassadors.html.

Story provided by (National Weather Service Jackson, Kentucky)