Prepare for snow before arrival - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Prepare for snow before arrival

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LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—For those who must travel during a winter storm, preparation is important before you hit the road.

Keith Butler, Emergency Management Coordinator said if you know that you have to travel Wednesday, prepare yourself Tuesday night before the storm.

He said you should have a kit in your car for the type of trip you'll be taking.

For shorter trips in town, he recommends you pack an extra snow scraper incase your first one breaks, a shovel in case you slide off the road into deep snow so you can dig your way out and snow melt or kitty litter to throw down by your tires for added traction.

He said don't take chances on the roads because you think you can handle Wisconsin winters.

"I think this storm is well predicted and well forecasted," Butler said. "They pretty much know its going to happen. Its going to be an average winter storm for Wisconsin six inches or so of snow is a mess so if you've got travel plans tonight get your kit together before you head out."

If you must make a long commute on Wednesday, he said pack everything in the small kit plus a full change of clothes, extra socks, hand warmers, a snack and water.

If you're traveling on secondary roads and you get stuck you could be there waiting for help anywhere from hours to over night.

The National Safety Council said at any temperature, 20 degrees below zero or 90 degrees

Above, weather affects road and driving conditions and can pose serious problems.

Your Car

Prepare your car for winter. Start with a checkup that includes:

  • Checking the ignition, brakes, wiring, hoses and fan belts. 
  • Changing and adjusting the spark plugs. 
  • Checking the air, fuel and emission filters, and the PCV valve. 
  • Inspecting the distributor. 
  • Checking the battery. 
  • Checking the tires for air, sidewall wear and tread depth. 
  • Checking antifreeze level and the freeze line. 

 Your car should have a tune-up (check the owner's manual for the recommended interval) to ensure better gas mileage, quicker starts and faster response on pick-up and passing power.

Necessary Equipment

An emergency situation on the road can arise at any time and you must be prepared. Following the tune up, a full tank of gas, and fresh anti-freeze, your trunk should carry:

A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack 

  • A shovel 
  • Jumper cables 
  • Tow and tire chains 
  • A bag of salt or cat litter 
  • Tool kit 

Essential Supplies

Be prepared with a "survival kit" that should always remain in the car. Replenish after use. Essential supplies include:

  • Working flashlight and extra batteries 
  • Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth 
  • Compass 
  • First aid kit 
  • Exterior windshield cleaner 
  • Ice scraper and snow brush 
  • Wooden stick matches in a waterproof container 
  • Scissors and string/cord 
  • Non-perishable, high energy foods like unsalted canned nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy 

In addition, if you are driving long distances under cold, snowy, and icy conditions, you should also carry supplies to keep you warm, such as heavy woolen mittens, socks, a cap and blankets.

If You Become Stranded

  • Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where you are, how far it is to possible help, and are certain you will improve your situation. 
  • To attract attention, light two flares and place one at each end of the car a safe
  • distance away. Hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna. 
  • If you are sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked, run the engine and heater for
  • about 10 minutes every hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the tank. 
  • To protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia use the woolen items and
  • blankets to keep warm. 
  • Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow and ice can seal a car shut. 
  • Eat a hard candy to keep your mouth moist.
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