Warren spared winter weather for time being

Rumors of lake effect snow coming this way are a bit misplaced.

According to forecasters at the National Weather Service in State College, Pa., areas north of Warren — as far north as Buffalo — may be seeing some heavy snowfall in the next few days, but Warren is still relatively free and clear of the white stuff for now.

“The northern half of the county might start to see a few inches around Thursday or Friday,” NWS forecasters said Tuesday afternoon, but as of now “it’s still a ways away.”

Still, the transition to winter weather, and specifically winter driving, can come with a few issues. The National Weather Service website defines winter weather advisories as potentially dangerous winter weather that is expected within the next 12 to 36 hours or that is currently occurring, with travel difficulties expected and the need to be aware, winter storm warnings as dangerous winter weather that is expected within the next 12 to 36 hours with considerable travel problems expected and the need to take action, and blizzard warnings as severe winter weather expected within the next 12 to 36 hours or is occurring – including whiteout conditions – during which travel is not advised.

The website suggests that vehicles be stocked for winter travel whether near or far with items including first aid kits, jumper cables, a spare tire, road flares, water and snacks, phone chargers, mittens, hats, boots, and extra warm clothes, a flashlight, a snow shovel and brush, blankets, tow rope, a bag of sand or kitty litter for traction, and as close to a full tank of gas as possible.

Accidents as well as emergency road closures can leave motorists stranded, the website advises. If the temperature is near freezing, the NWS says, drive as if you are on ice, as black ice may not be visible but still presents a danger.

During winter storms, the National Weather Service says on its website, even those staying off the roads need to be prepared for weather events that lead to loss of power, heat, and telephone services. Storm conditions can leave people with a lack of supplies if they are not prepared to shelter through storm conditions for multiple days. Flashlights, extra batteries, battery powered radios, extra shelf-stable, packaged or ready to eat food and water, enough medication to last through the event, diapers and formula for infants and children, first aid kits, heating fuel, an emergency heat source such as a fireplace, wood stove, or space heater and proper ventilation to prevent fire hazards, fire extinguishers and recently tested smoke alarms, extra food and shelter for pets, and carbon dioxide detectors are all important to have on hand in the home during winter months, the NWS advises.

When it comes to pets and livestock, the NWS suggests moving them to sheltered areas or bringing them inside during winter storms. Keeping extra feed near where animals will be sheltered, extra pet food on hand, and making sure that water is available are important to remember. Most animals that die as a result of winter storms do so because they are unable to find water that’s not frozen, the website says.

More information about winter safety can be found on the NWS website at www.weather.gov.