National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Western Heat Wave Continues; Severe Weather in the Midwest; Tropical Disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico

The persistent and extreme heat wave being felt across the western U.S. is set to continue and even expand into the Central U.S. Severe weather and flash flooding are possible over the Midwest. A tropical depression will likely form over the western Gulf of Mexico in the next two days. Heavy rain could begin to impact portions of the northern Gulf Coast Friday. 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.