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Shoveling snow


Use #MAsnow on Twitter for updates on a snow storm’s progress through Massachusetts.

Massachusetts residents know that the winter months can bring hazardous weather and treacherous conditions. Snowstorms can look beautiful, but may have consequences that are both inconvenient and dangerous. When preparing for winter storms, you will benefit from taking precautions, which can help keep you safe when heading outdoors or just huddled up under your blanket.

Get Ready for the Storm

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has advice for residents on how to prepare before a winter storm. Each storm may bring with it different conditions, including heavy snow, ice, and extreme cold. It is important to make decisions that help you and your family remain safe during severe winter weather.

  • Keep an eye on the forecast – While Massachusetts weather can be unpredictable, weather forecasters will use phrases such as a “winter storm watch” and a “winter storm warning” when a snowstorm is approaching, or is imminent. There also may be a winter weather advisory, which signals that the weather may be about to worsen. Blizzard warnings are used for whiteout and heavy snow conditions.
  • Pet Safety – Extra precautions during winter months will make sure your four-footed family members stay safe and warm. Keep in mind winter pet safety tips, and always bring your animals inside when temperatures fall.
  • Create a Winter Emergency Kit – During a major winter storm, you may not be able to make it to the store, or stores could be closed for several days. Stock up on non-perishable foods, bottled water, flashlights, radios, batteries, a first-aid kit, essential medications, and other items your family may need in a winter emergency kit.
  • Prepare for Power Outages – Winter storms with strong winds, heavy snow, and ice can bring power outages. Learn how to prepare for power outages during cold weather. Charge all cellphones and laptops before the storm approaches, purchase extra batteries for your flashlights, and know how to use generators safely.
  • Compile a Winter Emergency Car Kit – Winter storms can leave you stranded in your vehicle, so it’s important to have a winter emergency car kit. This can include such items as a snow shovel, cellphone charger, food, water, and blankets.
  • Know where to get help – Individuals who rely on electricity for medical equipment or receive in-home medical care should contact their health care providers and electric companies to learn about available options and services in case of a power outage or winter storm.

Prepare for Traffic Issues

Another aspect of a snowstorm is the possibility for commuting to become a major problem. Depending on the storm’s severity, driving may be difficult – or even impossible – while the option of riding public transportation may be limited or canceled. If you are worried about traveling, there are a few ways that you can keep up-to-date on road and rail conditions.

Additional Information

Whether you are trying to keep your family safe during a major snowstorm, or are planning out an unavoidable trip during bad weather, it is necessary to follow all of the precautions available to help you get through whatever Jack Frost throws your way this winter.

Do you know of any other ways to prepare for a snowstorm? Please feel free to comment below or tweet us @MassGov.

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