By ANDY GOODELL
The Oskaloosa Herald
Despite the fact that temperatures reached the mid 60s on Thursday, dangerous winter weather is still possible in the coming months.
The National Weather Service and the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency is designating Nov. 8 as Winter Weather Awareness Day in Iowa. This is being done in an effort to remind Iowans of the dangers affiliated with things like blizzards that can leave residents snowbound, deteriorated travel conditions and power outages that can occur with weather events like ice storms.
Jamey Robinson, Mahaska County Emergency Management coordinator, said it’s important to remember how quickly weather can change in Iowa. Although this past winter was more mild than those in the past, Robinson remembered some of the more dangerous ones. Back in December 2010, around a foot of snow hit Oskaloosa, with snow drifts causing the closure of Highway 63 between Oskaloosa and New Sharon.
“We’ve had some pretty substantial ones,” said Robinson, who recalled taking baby formula to a mother who was snowed in during one recent winter.
During things like blizzards, it’s also important to stock up on things like food, medication and food for pets, noted Robinson.
Loss of electrical power is another big concern during winter weather events, said Robinson. He noted the importance of having extra blankets, not only in the home, but in vehicles. Having extra food and water in one’s vehicle is also advisable, he said.
“If you slide into a ditch, it could take responders a little longer to get to you,” said Robinson.
As the possibility for winter weather draws nearer, Robinson advised people to sign up for the Nixle system, which provides text message alerts to people’s cellular and smart phones. Those in Oskaloosa can text their area code, 52577, to 888777.
Robinson said the Nixle system can provide people on the go with updates on bad weather no matter where they are.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org