Be prepared for severe winter weather – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Be prepared for severe winter weather

Although the shortest day of winter has passed, spring is still months away and severe winter weather is again in the forecast. As the Kansas Division of Emergency Management has alerted Kansans to the probability of a severe winter storm beginning Friday afternoon and extending into the weekend, the biggest concern is the potential for icy conditions.

With any winter storm that involves winds, and mixtures of snow, sleet and ice, there lurks the potential for power outages, so KDEM reminds Kansans to check their winter emergency kits ahead of the storm and replenish any needed supplies. Emergency kits should include a minimum three-day supply of water (one gallon per day per person), nonperishable high-energy foods, extra blankets, flashlights and extra batteries, a safe alternate heat source, extra medications and other essentials. If you have a power generator, make sure it is in working order and you have plenty of fuel.

Kansans are encouraged to stay indoors, but if you must go outside, be sure to dress warmly and wear sturdy shoes or boots with good traction. Watch for ice accumulations that may cause tree limbs and power lines to fall. Don’t work alone outdoors and take frequent warming breaks.

Pet owners are reminded to see to the needs of their pets, particularly if kept outdoors. When making your home emergency kit, make one for your pets, as well, with the same three-day supply of food and water, and other essentials. Ensure that your pet has a warm, dry shelter with straw or other bedding material, and access to food and water that is not covered by snow or ice. If you do not have a heated water dish, make sure to replace the water at least daily when temperatures drop below freezing. During particularly severe conditions, bring the pet indoors to a warm area.

Road travel is discouraged during extreme storm situations, particularly when the forecast indicates the potential for icy build-up on roads. However, if you must travel, take extra precautions to keep yourself and your family safe. Keep at least a half a tank of gas in your car at all times in case you get stranded or stuck in traffic. Arrange your travel plans to leave well ahead of bad weather and keep an emergency kit in your car.

Recommended items to include in your vehicle:

  • Water
  • Snack food
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Matches
  • Extra hats, socks and mittens
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • Blanket(s)
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Road salt and sand
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency flares
  • Fluorescent distress flag

Information on winter driving tips is available from the Kansas Highway Patrol at You can also follow the Kansas Highway Patrol on Facebook and Twitter at

If you must travel, get the latest road information from the Kansas Department of Transportation by calling 511 or visiting To find information on road conditions when not in the state, call 866-511-5368.

For a complete list of items for a home or car emergency kit and for other helpful preparedness information, go to

Information thanks to the Kansas Division of Emergency Management.

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