Disasters and Emergencies
Winter storms can bring heavy snow, ice, strong winds and freezing rain. A major winter storm can be lethal. Preparing for cold weather conditions and responding to them effectively can reduce the dangers caused by winter storms. Even when you are safe indoors, a winter storm can cause power outages, structural damage and loss of communication services. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, always plan ahead. Be sure to create a communication and disaster plan for your family ahead of time.
Snow, sleet, ice and temperatures below freezing all have a huge effect on driving conditions. During the winter season, safety depends on the driver’s performance in winter hazards, vehicle maintenance, and common sense.
The leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving.
Know what to do before, during, and after winter weather.
Iowa disaster history
The April Blizzard of 1973
The April 8-10 blizzard of 1973 is possibly the worst April blizzard on record. Snowfall totals of 20.3 inches at Belle Plaine and 19.2 inches at Dubuque set all-time storm total records at those locations. Total amounts of 16.0 inches were reported at Lansing and New Hampton, while Cedar Rapids received 14.5 inches, Iowa City 14.3 inches, and Des Moines 14.0 inches. Winds gusting to 65 mph or higher resulted in near zero visibility and blew the snow into drifts as deep as 16 feet closing most roads in the state. Fourteen deaths were attributed to the storm, many of them people who had suffered heart attacks while shoveling snow. Two people died of exposure. One was killed in a seven-car accident west of Forest City. Desperate farmers called county road maintenance, trying to get roads cleared so they could feed their livestock. Farmers ended up losing 78,137 calves, 22,235 cows, 6,874 other cattle; 19,329 hogs, 5,467 sheep, 214,400 turkeys, 25,210 pigs and 150 chickens.
Video credit: FOX 28 News Cedar Rapids