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Snowstorms and Extreme Cold

Even in Georgia, winter storms can be killers. Each year, dozens of Americans die due to exposure to cold. Add to that number, vehicle accidents and fatalities, fires due to dangerous use of heaters and other winter weather fatalities and you have a significant threat.


Threats, such as hypothermia and frostbite, can lead to loss of fingers and toes or cause permanent kidney, pancreas and liver injury and even death. You must prepare properly to avoid these extreme dangers. You also need to know what to do if you see symptoms of these threats.

A major winter storm can last for several days and be accompanied by high winds, freezing rain or sleet, heavy snowfall and cold temperatures. People can become trapped at home or in a car, without utilities or other assistance. Attempting to walk for help in a winter storm can be a deadly decision. The aftermath of a winter storm can have an impact on a community or region for days, weeks or even months.

Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees and topple utility poles and communication towers. Ice can disrupt communications and power for days while utility companies repair extensive damage. Even small accumulations of ice can be extremely dangerous to motorists and pedestrians. Bridges and overpasses are particularly dangerous because they freeze before other surfaces. 

Extreme Cold

Extreme cold weather can come to North Georgia. Temperatures in the single digits and even below zero have occurred right here in Cherokee County.

Actions you can take
  • Stay indoors and use safe heating sources.

  • Be aware of the fire danger from space heaters and candles, keep such devices away from all flammable materials such as curtains and furniture, and install recommended smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Indoors, do not use charcoal or other fuel-burning devices, such as grills that produce carbon monoxide. Install at least one carbon monoxide detector per floor in your home.

  • Outdoors, stay dry and in wind protected areas.

  • Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting, warm clothing.

  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and eat high-caloric foods.

The P's of cold weather

Protect Plants
Protect Pets
Protect Exposed Pipes
Practice Fire Safety

Are you ready?

Primary concerns are the loss of heat, power and telephone service and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. Have available:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries.

  • Battery-powered NOAA Weather

  • Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information. These may be your only links to the outside. 

  • Extra food and water. Have high energy food, such as dried fruit, nuts and granola bars, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration. 

  • Extra medicine and baby items. 

  • First-aid supplies. 

  • Heating fuel. Refuel before you are empty. Fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a winter storm.  

  • Use properly to prevent a fire.

  • Ventilate properly.Emergency heat source: fireplace, wood stove, space heater.

  •  Fire extinguisher, smoke alarm.

  • Test smoke alarms once a month to ensure they work properly.

  • Make sure pets have plenty of food, water shelter.

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