Preparing for winter's worst weather
McCook football fans are all geared up for a great playoff game Wednesday at Weiland Field, and the weather promises to be nearly ideal.
With the mild, beautiful weather we've been enjoying this fall, it's easy to forget how quickly weather can turn bad in Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas.
Old hands know that a blizzard can catch travelers by surprise, but with more and more residents commuting long distances to work and school, caution is more and more important.
Thus has Gov. Dave Heineman declared Wednesday as Winter Weather Awareness Day across Nebraska.
"Winter weather is something all Nebraskans are familiar with, yet by taking the time to prepare for the worst of inclement weather, we can prevent many of the most extreme outcomes," Heineman said. "Planning can save lives."
Sponsored by the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service, the event is designed to focus attention on the seriousness of winter weather and how people can prepare for heavy snow, strong winds and cold temperatures.
"In this time of weather emergencies in the south, it is important to remember that Nebraska has life-threatening weather situations as well," Nebraska Emergency Management Agency Assistant Director Al Berndt said. "Winter weather is a serious threat, and all Nebraskans should prepare for the harsh conditions that soon will be upon us."
It is easy for those of us in the more northern latitudes to pass judgment on New Orleans or other cities in the south that might have made better preparations for hurricanes. But before we do, we had better have our own house in order when it comes to blizzards.
Berndt is calling for each family to have a plan in place to enable it to stand on its own for up to 72 hours with any outside help.
What special steps will your family need to take to meet that goal?
For one thing, consider purchasing a battery-powered NOAA weather radio, and pay attention to weather forecasts on commercial radio, television and the Internet. That will give you the time to take whatever steps are necessary.
But there are many other steps to take to increase our family's safety.
For more tips, log in to the NEMA Web site at http://www.nema.ne.gov.