The massive blizzard that barreled through the Midwest last weekend was not to be trifled with, as it left at least six people dead, according to media reports. The system, although weakened, is moving eastwards, so this may be a good time to remind residents to make sure they are safe and self-sufficient during severe weather.
As blizzard conditions set in, the safest thing to do is to stay off the roads. In fact, most casualties of winter weather occur in car accidents on slippery surfaces or when people freeze to death after becoming stuck in their vehicle.
If travel is absolutely necessary, individuals should carry a full tank of gas and be equipped with a survival kit that includes a shovel, windshield scraper, battery-powered radio and road salt, as well as emergency flares and a fluorescent distress flag.
In the event of becoming stranded in a car during a snowstorm, it is critical to keep in mind that the safest place to stay is inside. The engine should be run only for short periods of time to provide heat, and it's important to crack the windows sightly open to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Weather.com also recommends moving around at least once an hour, clapping hands and stomping feet to boost circulation and to avoid clots or frostbites.
Households located in areas prone to blizzards should keep stocks of non-perishable food items and bottled water throughout the winter.
Finally, it's important to shovel snow away from your home's walls, and remember to clear the roof with a rake, as excess snow weight can cause a roof to collapse.
Residents should also regularly clear areas around exhaust pipes and air vents to avoid accumulation of noxious gasses indoors.