Winter weather arrives in area

The Associated Press

SANTA FE — With more winterlike weather expected to arrive this weekend, state officials are urging residents to be prepared.

When storms dumped more than three feet of snow across northern New Mexico last winter, a lot of residents weren’t.

No snow shovels. No food stored away. No way to get to a store. Travelers were stranded, and livestock owners couldn’t reach their animals.

Tim Manning, director of the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said families should have a plan on how to contact one another if separated. A supply kit for use at home and while on travel also is a must, he said.

Emergency managers said residents should be ready to take care of themselves and their families in case emergency workers can’t immediately reach them.

Home kits should include a three-day supply of water for each family member, nonperishable food, clothing, bedding, tools, battery-operated radios, flashlights, candles and matches.

Travel kits should include bottled water, high-energy food, first-aid supplies, road flares, a road map, battery booster cables, a tow rope and a windshield scraper.

Emergency managers say vehicle gasoline tanks should be topped off as often as possible when traveling and above half full when in town in case electrical shortages make it impossible to pump gasoline.

If stranded, stay calm and with the car, they say. Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna, and run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes ever hour.

Horse and livestock owners also should have way to get feed to their animals in the event of a storm, emergency mangers say.

Portales received its first snowfall of the year Thursday morning. More was expected to fall throughout the night and into today. Thursday’s high was 30 degrees, 29 degrees under the average high of 59 degrees, according to
accuweather.com.

Winter driving tips

Driving safely on icy roads
• Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
• Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
• Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
• Keep your lights and windshield clean.
• Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
• Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
• Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
• Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
• Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.
— www.weather.com