MASON CITY — This is Winter Weather Awareness Day in Iowa and while the snow and cold temperatures have made everyone well aware the season is coming — there are still some reminders of things to prepare.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Kenny Podrazik, says one thing you should do is to be sure the winter survival kit in your car is fully stocked for any trips.  “You know if you’re doing some travel over the holidays. Pack your first aid kit, flashlight, shovel, some extra clothing, blankets, bottled water, some nonperishable food, things like that,” Podrazik says.

He says those items may’ve been removed from your car during the summer, and you should check to be sure you have everything you need. Podrazik says you should also make a plan for any winter weather that might knock out your power by being sure you have a backup heat source and working flashlights in your house.

He says you should check everything now so you aren’t caught up with everyone else in line trying to do this as a storm approaches. “It’s better to get some things prepared now before that big winter storm comes. That way you are not caught up in the big traffic or things like that,” Podrazik says.

He says conditions can change quickly and it’s important to keep track of the forecast and changing conditions — especially if you are going to travel. “Definitely always check the forecast before you go out….you can check weathter-dot-gov for the latest forecast. We also recommend checking the latest conditions — that’s 5-1-1 for the Iowa DOT,” according to Podrazik.

He says winter weather is going to hit sometime, but there’s no way to know when and how hard it will hit this year, as  there’s really no significant indicator one way or the other about the type of winter will have. Podrazik says we’ve only had a taste of winter weather thus far and hopefully we won’t see a lot of storms until later on in the year.

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