It's Cold! How to Stay Safe and Winter Weather Ready

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Emergency managers say staying safe in Nebraska winters means understanding how deadly the elements can be.

"Any amount of wind can start to push that windchill factor to a point where in 30-40 minutes you can get frostbite," says Grand Island-Hall County Emergency Manager Jon Rosenlund.

Besides bundling up before leaving home, officials recommend keeping extra food and water in your house, car, or anywhere you could be stranded.

Water is especially important as dehydration can be as much of a problem in December as in July.

"Make sure that you have at least a couple bags of snack foods and a lot of water, you need to be really hydrated during the winter time," says Chip Volcek, Adams County Emergency Manager.

Even if you're getting into a warm car or one that's in the garage, officials say don't forget your coat because you never know what might happen, even during that quick trip to the store.

"A road that you travel all the time can be pretty treacherous, sometimes even in your own neighborhood they can be the most icy and the most dangerous," says Rosenlund. "We encourage people when they're traveling to take time."

They also recommend keeping a fully charged cell with you and a full tank of gas in the car.

"Even if it's just like a trip from Hastings to Kearney, you never want to assume that you can just get there in 40 minutes or 50 minutes and back," says Volcek. "I mean it may just be cold and you have a flat and you can't get it fixed and so you're out there."

Homes need to be winter ready too, and that means getting your furnace checked and chimneys cleaned.

Emergency managers say it's not just about warmth - over 150 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Officials also ask that you check in with your neighbors and friends to make sure they have plenty of food, water, and heat as cold weather can be hardest on vulnerable populations.