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Winter Weather Preparedness

Winter Weather Preparedness Week 2021 is Nov. 7–13.
View the governor's Winter Weather Preparedness Week 2021 proclamation

Map of Indiana counties
Indiana County Travel Status Map
Map of Indiana counties
Indiana County Travel Status Map

Winter Weather Preparedness

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), state partners and emergency personnel work to protect Hoosiers whenever hazardous weather happens across Indiana. Knowing where to find travel information and preparing ahead of time for winter weather is important so all Hoosiers can reduce their risk to harm.

County Travel Status Map

On Feb. 14–16, 2021, between 6 and 12 inches of snow and strong winds created dangerous travel conditions and prompted most counties across Indiana to issue local travel advisories. These advisories were shared on news outlets and also shown on the IDHS statewide county travel status map. Many state agencies, private sector partners and non-governmental organizations rely on the map to make safe decisions during winter weather conditions. Counties decide whether to issue travel advisories, watches or warnings, and the map updates in real time when a county emergency management agency reports its county's updated travel status to the state. Be sure to check the map during the winter, and follow the winter travel safety tips below.

Not Just Snow and Ice

Cold temperatures, snow and freezing rain are common throughout Indiana from November through March each year. But Hoosiers should be prepared for other weather hazards during the wintertime too. Tornadoes can occur at any time of the year, as outbreaks in December 2015 and November 2013 showed. Sometimes temperatures are warm enough that winter storm precipitation remains rain. In February 2018, record rainfall between 5 and 9 inches created widespread flooding, with numerous rivers reaching major flood levels and several setting new records. Review tornado and flooding safety tips, and the following extreme cold guidance below, to stay prepared.

Winter Travel

Winter vehicle emergency kit items

  • Keep driving to a minimum in hazardous winter weather conditions. If traveling is necessary, make sure the vehicle has a fully stocked emergency kit with items such as extra blankets, spare clothes and a flashlight. In case of an accident, these items will help if emergency help is delayed.
  • Plan ahead. Regularly check local weather reports and the IDHS county travel status map before hitting the road. Keep the vehicle with a full tank of gas so that the heater can be used for as long as possible if you become stuck.
  • Remove snow and ice from the vehicle's roof, windshields and lights before driving.
  • Allow plenty of time to reach your destination so you can drive more slowly.
  • Leave enough distance between vehicles to allow time for braking, and avoid abrupt stops and starts.

Read more winter travel safety tips

Extreme Cold

winter weather clothing tips

  • During bitterly cold temperatures, limit outdoor activity as much as possible. If going outdoors, bundle up with scarves, mittens, hats and a warm coat. Take frequent breaks in a warm shelter.
  • Cold-weather illnesses such as hypothermia can occur at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. A few warning signs are numbness, extremely low energy, discolored skin and fumbling hands. If you notice any of these signs, take the person's temperature. If it is below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, get medical attention immediately.
  • Only use portable space heaters as a last resort to stay warm. If used, make sure there is a 3-foot space between flammable objects and the space heater. Always turn off the heater before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Remember pets and animals. Keep pets indoors as much as possible, and provide a warm shelter for outdoor animals. Make sure they have plenty of non-frozen water.

Read more extreme-cold weather safety tips