Commentary: Winter is coming, and it’s time to prepare

By Jeff Sands

The 2020 hurricane season wrapped up last week, and just as quickly, the temperatures dropped and winter is upon us. And with the way 2020 has been going, look out! With many Delawareans still feeling the effects of Tropical Storm Isaias, it’s important to look ahead to winter weather and take a few simple steps to prepare.

Jeff Sands

This week is Winter Weather Awareness Week in Delaware. Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and PrepareDE has partnered with the National Weather Service-Mount Holly, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the University of Delaware’s Center for Environmental Monitoring and Analysis (CEMA) to help Delawareans prepare for the winter ahead.

Each day this week, DEMA and our partners are discussing winter weather terminology, providing safety tips and giving some historical perspective from past storms. Check out our Facebook page to learn more ( Being prepared can help save lives, prevent injury and save money.

While not always as dramatic as a hurricane, winter weather poses its own set of challenges. Ice storms can damage power lines, leaving you without heat and power for extended periods; snow and ice can impact roadways; and low temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and burst, just to name a few. Here are some easy tips to help you and your family prepare for the winter ahead:

• Make a plan for what to do and where to go if you lose power during a storm, as well as how you can safely stay warm, while being mindful of fire and carbon monoxide risks. It’s important to make sure that your home or apartment is prepared for the cold weather, too.

• Have an emergency kit in your home and one in your vehicle. Make sure to keep at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water in your home for each family member (in case you lose power or the pipes freeze). Simple items in your vehicle, such as warm gloves, a hat, a blanket, water, snacks, a first-aid kit can go a long way to helping you thrive if you break down or are stranded in the snow.

• Stay informed by monitoring the weather and the directions of local and state officials. Know the road conditions and travel safely!

Plan and prepare now for winter weather.

This year has been a challenge for everyone, so let’s do everything we can to prepare for the winter ahead. As the old expression goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Taking a few minutes to make sure you and your family are prepared for the challenges that the season brings can help prevent emergencies and lower your risk.

Go to for more helpful preparedness tips, follow the National Weather Service-Mount Holly for weather updates and keep an eye on the DelDOT social media pages for road closures and restrictions. Stay safe, everyone!

Jeff Sands is community relations coordinator for the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA).