Winter Storm

Be Smart. Know your hazard.

Winter storms can occur anywhere and bring freezing rain, ice, snow, high winds or a combination of all these conditions. They can cause power outages that last for days or weeks; making it hard to keep warm and making travel very dangerous. For more information on how to prepare for winter storms, download the How to Prepare for a Winter Storm Guide which provides the basics of winter storms, explains how to protect yourself and your property and details the steps to take now so you can stay safely where you are in case of a winter storm.

Winter Storm Basics


A winter storm occurs when there is significant precipitation and the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet or snow, or when rain turns to ice. A winter storm can range from freezing rain and ice, to moderate snowfall over a few hours, to a blizzard that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures.


Winter storms and colder than normal temperatures can happen in every region of the country.


Winter storms can occur from early autumn to late spring depending on the region.

Know your risk: 

Do you want to have a better understanding of the risk for winter storms in the area you live? Below are two maps that present the frequency of winter storms and abnormally cold days between 1996 and 2013 as identified by data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).