Winter is officially here

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeff Walston
  • 913th Airlift Group

With the first day of winter upon us, it’s not too late to make the changes or adjustment necessary to prevent the loss of life, reduce property damage and prevent the minor mishaps that can become major problems.

Arkansas’ winter weather has gotten off to a slow start, but no one knows what the future holds, and weather can change at a moment’s notice.

Preparing for the worst, while we hope for the best is usually a good practice. If the temperatures drops below the freezing mark, many unsafe conditions will occur.

Tips for Traveling:
Remember, overpasses and bridges freeze much faster than normal road surfaces resulting in dangerous conditions.

• If driving is a necessity, ensure all passengers use seatbelts
• Allow enough time to get to the destination
• Keep a safe distance from other vehicles on the road
• Plan long trips carefully
• Vehicles should have had a recent safety inspection
• Check for proper fluid levels
• Keep a windshield scraper for ice and snow removal
• Maintain a full tank of gas during the winter season
• Always travel long distances during daylight
• If possible, take at least one other person on the trip
• Always keep others informed of traveling routes and schedules

It is recommended that travelers keep an emergency kit designed for winter conditions ready at all times. These kits should include blankets, candles, lighter or matches and extra clothes. Although you may never use these items yourself, you might happen upon someone in need of your assistance while traveling.

When out in cold or freezing weather, wear warm clothing in layers. Be sure to have gloves, suitable footwear for the conditions and head protection.

Preparing homes for winter is also important. Most people spend more time in homes than in vehicles, so preparing the home such as ensuring water pipes are sufficiently insulated should be near the top of a list of precautions for this winter season. Below are some key items to be stocked in the event of a loss of electrical power due to harsh weather conditions.

• Keep a battery-powered radio on hand
• Have a flashlight with extra batteries
• Drinking water
• Pet food
• Extra prescription medications
• A first aid kit
• Non-perishable water food items that do not require cooking

Mobile Homes:
Mobile homes and travel trailers can be a challenge to keep warm during winter weather. To keep cold wind out from under the structure, underpinning a trailer is a necessity, even if it is just temporary fabric construction silt fence purchased at the local hardware store. They are simple to install with a three pound sledge hammer and reduce the possibility of pipes freezing. Leaving water dripping during freezing temperatures is always a good preventative action to keep pipes from freezing.

Remember, winter has just begun, so the worst is yet to come. Being prepared, and stay safe.

For additional tips on surviving the winter, go to:

For road conditions: or

National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office: