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Winter Weather: Snow Storms, Ice, Extreme Cold
The City of Chesapeake may see fewer winter weather emergencies - such as snow storms and extreme cold - than other areas. That fact makes it more important for us to be prepared.
During snow storms and extreme cold, many people are injured or killed by exposure to cold, vehicle accidents on wintry roads, and fires caused by the improper use of heaters.
They can cause power outages. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical services.
The safety tips below are intended to prepare you for snow storms and extreme cold.
Sign up for Chesapeake Alert for emergency notifications by email, phone or text. Make sure to sign up and stay up to date.
Prepare your home with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Take steps to keep pipes from freezing.
Check for fire hazard. Make sure heaters have three feet of space between them and flammable material.
Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
Make a family emergency communication plan.
Put together a disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate. A basic kit could include the following items:
- One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.
- At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with a backup battery
(Make sure to also fully charge your phone before a storm.)
Visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for additional suggestions.
Access individual needs, such as medications.
Check in with elderly and home-bound family members and neighbors
Stay off roads. If you must drive:
- Prepare your vehicle ahead of the storm.
- Make sure you have an emergency supply kit for your vehicle, including jumper cables, flares, ice scraper, blanket, map and a charger for your phone.
- Make sure your vehicle is prepared for winter and working properly. The Virginia Department of Transportation offers more tips for preparing your car.
- Stay informed of changing weather conditions.
- Clear your vehicle of snow before hitting the road.
- Wear your seatbelt.
- Leave a few minutes early.
- Drive slowly.
- Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.
- Avoid risky behavior, such as distracted driving, such as texting.
- Be on the lookout for icy patches, especially black ice.
- Give plows plenty of space. Stay at least 4 car lengths behind them. This is for your personal safety and the safety of your vehicle, as some plows may be spreading sand which can damage your car.
- Do not assume the driver sees you. His or her field of vision is limited.
- Avoid passing a snow plow. The plow may cross over the center line and the road in front of the plow is usually in much worse condition.
- Plows might also create a snow cloud or whiteout condition which you should not drive through.
- Do not cut in front of a plow too closely. The plow extends well beyond the front of the truck and the truck cannot stop quickly.
These tips also apply to driving after the event has passed when roads are still messy and/or have the potential to ice.
For more car and driving tips, visit VDOT's Winter Travel Tips page.
Learn more about Snowstorm and Extreme Cold preparation, visit