Getting Ready For Winter

By Chris Daniels, Meteorologist

Getting Ready For Winter

November 19, 2010 Updated Nov 19, 2010 at 6:08 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Indiana's NewsCenter helps you prepare for winter with "Winter Weather: VIPIR on Alert" Special.

This week is Winter Weather Preparedness Week in Indiana and the team of meteorologists at Indiana's NewsCenter have been preparing the special half hour program "Winter Weather, VIPIR on Alert" that will be broadcast Saturday, November 20th at 7:30 P.M. and again on Saturday, December 4th at 7:30 P.M. on WPTA 21Alive.

The broadcast is part of Winter Weather Preparedness Week, the goal of which is to help you understand the hazards of winter weather.

"There's so much good information packed into this half-hour program," says chief meteorologist Curtis Smith. "It's the kind of program you'd want your whole family to see, and talk about."

Meteorologist Chris Daniels says "the long-term winter forecast for our area calls for slightly above average temperatures, and above average moisture - that could signal some bigger snows -- you want to be prepared."

With VIPIR's exclusive analytic "snow machine," meteorologists with Indiana's NewsCenter will project snow fall amounts, hour by hour, with the ability to show down to street-level views how much snow has fallen. "There is absolutely no comparable winter forecasting tool in Fort Wayne or anywhere else in Northeast Indiana than Pinpoint VIPIR HD," says Curtis.

Curtis says that "just as we use the analytic power of VIPIR to show you tornadic rotation in threatening thunderstorms during the spring and summer months even before the Weather Service issues warnings, we can use VIPIR to predict snowfall amounts."

Being prepared now for severe winter weather is the key to getting through it safely, and comfortably. "The program is very informative," says meteorologist Jason Meyers. "One of the most important things you can get out of it is that by signing up for Indiana's NewsCenter text message alerts you will be automatically advised if your school is on a delay, or closed, and whether your county is under a winter weather watch or warning," says Meyers.

Tens of thousands of people have already signed up for the free service (although you'll want to know if text messaging rates apply from your provider).

The Indiana Department of Education plans provide for as safe an environment as possible for school children. Most school systems have several sources for weather information, including NOAA Weather Radio, local radio and television, and internet or paging services.

Schools have a plan on delaying, early dismissal or cancelling school based on forecast or observed weather and road conditions. Weather watches usually prompt discussion of plans. Actual conditions or winter weather warnings or winter weather advisories will usually prompt delays, early closures or cancellations. Temperature, snow, freezing rain or road conditions determine a schools course of action.

Before school, local radio and television stations carry information on school plans as well as plans for other organizations. The state police always carry reports on road conditions on their website. Often school officials will test road conditions themselves before making decisions.

Most schools have mobile communications for bus drivers and announce to teachers and students at school any plans different than normal. School officials and bus drivers are in communication if weather or road conditions require an alternate route of travel. School officials and bus drivers should also be aware of the signs of hypothermia or frostbite in case children have to wait a long time at bus stops.

So monitoring forecasts and school plans through the media or school web sites will keep you updated on school plans.

Make watching "Winter Weather: VIPIR on Alert" the first part of your winter preparedness plan.

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