National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Heavy rain and higher elevation snow continue for the Northwest, fire danger continues in Southern California

A series of Pacific storms will bring strong winds, heavy rain, and mountain snow to the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies through Sunday. Heavy rainfall and flooding is possible from the Mississippi Valley to the Deep South and Southeast U.S. this weekend and into early next week. Dry winds will prolong the fire weather threat for Southern California for several days. Read More >

Overview Types of Winter Weather Stay Informed Be Prepared When caught in a storm

When Caught in a Winter Storm

Outside

Find shelter:

  • Try to stay dry.
  • Cover all exposed body parts.

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.

In a Vehicle

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.

Inside

Stay inside:

  • When using alternate heat from 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.

Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia. Take Red Cross Cardiopulminary Rescue (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training so you can respond quickly to an emergency.