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|1802 Hill Avenue
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
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Severe winter storms can have a tremendous impact on individuals, animals, and communities. Extremely cold temperatures combined with snow, ice or sleet, blizzard conditions with high winds and dangerous wind chills can all occur.
Winter storms can last for days. Accumulations of snow and ice can result in road closures or blockages – isolating homes and farms for days. Roofs may collapse due to heavy weight burden and knock trees and power lines down resulting in power outages and subsequent loss of heat in homes. Dangerous driving conditions can lead to travelers being stranded on the road.
The Wind Chill Temperature Index is used to quantify the risk of danger of winter temperatures. High winds, combined with cold temperatures speeds the rate of heat loss to the body, especially exposed skin. As the speed of the wind increases, heat can be carried away from your body much more quickly, causing skin temperature to drop. When there are high winds, serious weather-related health problems are more likely.
Prolonged exposure to low temperatures, wind or moisture can result in serious or life threatening conditions, such as frost bite or hypothermia. Each year, dozens of Americans die due to cold-related illnesses with additional fatalities occurring from vehicle accidents, fires following the misuse of heaters, and other winter weather fatalities (e.g., carbon monoxide poisoning).
Animals are also at risk during severe winter weather and are subject to wind chill factors, hypothermia and frostbite, just as humans are. Unprotected livestock may be lost. Deaths can also occur due to dehydration, when water sources freeze and become unavailable. Winter conditions may make getting food and water to animals more difficult.
Businesses must also make preparations for winter storm situations. Protection of their employees will be necessary to ensure their safety. Employees that must work outdoors during extreme situations should be provided the necessary education on risk and measures to stay safe.
The following factsheets will help you prepare your family, home and farm, animals and business in efforts to minimize the impact and speed the recovery from winter storm situations.