Snow Preparedness

The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.

Check home supplies of:

  • Rock salt or ice melt
  • Snow shovels
  • Home heating fuel to include wood and or pellets
  • Vehicle antifreeze
  • Water
  • Non-perishable food

Preparedness at home:

  • Identify where all water shut-off valves are located
  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Take breaks!!
  • Keep dry and change wet clothing frequently
  • For frozen water pipes, do not use an open flame. Remove the insulation, cover pipes with rags, and pour hot water over the rags, beginning where the pipe(s) was most exposed. Open all faucets prior to doing this.
  • Maintain a 3 foot safe space 360 degrees around any portable heaters.

Preparedness on the road:

  • Windshield wiper fluid/blades
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper
  • Flashlight
  • Water
  • Snack food
  • Extra hats and gloves
  • Blankets
  • Drive only when absolutely necessary and let someone know your destination and route.

Important terms:

Winter Storm Watch

– A winter storm is possible in your area. A Winter Storm Watch is issued when severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, may affect your area but the location and timing are still uncertain. A Winter Storm Watch is issued 12 to 36 hours in advance of a potential sever storm.

Winter Storm Warning

– A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.

Blizzard Warning

– Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.

Important medical information:


- Occurs when the skin and body tissue just beneath it freezes. Signs and symptoms of frostbite include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face, and the tip of the nose.
  • Cover exposed skin, but do not rub the affected area in an attempt to warm it up. Seek medical help immediately.


– Dangerously low body temperature. Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Get the victim to a warm location
  • Remove wet clothing
  • Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets
  • Give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the person is conscious.

Important Numbers:

Police, Fire/EMS

  • Emergencies: 911
  • Non-emergency calls for Police service: 301-352-1200

City of Bowie

  • City Hall main number: 301-262-6200
  • Bowie Police Department: 240-544-5700


  • Power outages: 877-778-2222
  • Downed wires: 800-685-0123


  • 800-483-7988

Washington Gas

  • 800-752-7520