Wednesday is Winter Weather Awareness day in Missouri.
This week, we've seen some of our first below-freezing temperatures of the season, and the National Weather Service wants people to start preparing their homes and cars for winter before the first snow falls.
Being stranded in your car during a winter snow storm can be frightening. You're struggling to keep warm, panicking about getting your car out of a snow drift and hoping your car battery lasts.
With that in mind, the National Weather Service wants you to prepare a winter car kit now before the first snowfall or ice storm.
In the trunk of your car, you'll want to keep a supply of energy-type snacks, jumper cables, flares, and a shovel. As well as something you may have never thought of: a supply of kitty litter, sand or roof shingles to place under your tires and create traction in an ice storm.
The weather service also suggests keeping cash in your wallet. In the case of a power outage, credit card machines may not be working at gas stations or convenience stores.
As for inside your home, the weather service says the general rule of thumb is to prepare for a seven-to-10-day power outage. Bottled water is very important. You also need to have one-to-two gallons of water per person, per day in your house.
The service. also suggests storing gas for your grill. In a power outage, you may need it to cook. Non-perishable food and a manual can opener are also good to have on hand.
Inside the National Weather Service office in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, meteorologists work 24-7, 365 days a year to track storms in our area. They keep tabs on 31 counties in Missouri and Kansas.
When a storm approaches, these meteorologists put out alerts online, on air and over the air waves.
They're reminding people to understand key National Weather Service terms like these:
Winter storm watch means you have 12-48 hours before the storm hits.
Winter storm warning means severe weather is expected now and can be life threatening.
Ice storm warnings mean we could get a quarter inch or more of ice.
National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Bailey says these tips won't only keep you safe; they can also save you money.
"If you just have that simple can of sand or litter in your trunk, you may be able to help yourself out of a situation rather than calling the tow truck", said Bailey.
The weather service. also suggests cleaning out your furnace and chimney before the first snowfall.