National Weather Service encourages winter weather preparedness - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/19/09

National Weather Service encourages winter weather preparedness

By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The National Weather Service urges folks to be prepared for hazardous winter weather, especially with a strengthening El Nino pattern.

Every year, west Texas is hit by at least one winter storm. As we told folks earlier, this year we could see more ice and snow due to El Nino. The National Weather Service (NWS) found that each year, 41-people across the country die due to winter weather, and each year, dozens of fatalities are attributed to exposure to cold. Add the number of vehicle accidents and fatalities, and winter can pose a serious threat.

That's why the NWS is starting a series of service announcements to broadcast over NOAA Weather Radios. "We're going to run a series of audio messages on the weather radio, talking about safety tips, winter weather, maybe a little bit about El Nino and just get folks up to speed on what we can expect this winter and how to be prepared for that," NWS Warning Coordinator Meteorologist Jody James said. 

The NWS plans start broadcasting the messages by the end of the week. They'll run 10 to 15 minutes, and last through mid-December.  James also recommends that folks who don't have a weather radio get one, to have an extra alert to winter storm warnings.

We asked James how El Nino conditions are shaping up now.  He says earlier it appeared like it was dying out, but he says now that's not the case. "Now, as we look at the sea surface temperatures, they're running 1.7-degrees Celsius above normal, and if that were to hold at least for a couple more months, that means a strong El Nino and if it edges up a little more, we could even be looking at a very strong or extreme event," James said. 

James encourages folks to prepare their homes with extra food and water. He also says folks should prepare their cars with a winter survival kit.

James says even if we just receive average precipitation, it could still throw folks off because we've seen so little in the past two winters. "Our average snowfall here in Lubbock is about 10.5 inches, and I think even if we saw that, especially if it came in one or two storms, it would be a change, because you kind of get used to the pattern we've been in," James said. 

(Click Here) for more preparedness and safety information from the National Weather Service.

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