CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — When the weather app reads 60-degrees on December 1st, Victoria Hermosillo knew she would bring her son Paul to Huguenot Park to soak in the sunshine.
“I was like that sounds great,” Hermosillo said. “I try to strategize when we come to the park. Especially with children who don’t like to wear winter clothing.”
She was not aware the warm-ish weather came smack dab in the middle of the annual Winter Weather Awareness Week in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and the National Weather Service (NWS) encourage Virginians to prep their families, vehicles, and homes for winter storms and ice.
Hermosillo said she knows one area where she can improve.
“You know the frost, like on your windshield? So like, I’m late to work sometimes, and I’m like, ‘Ugh, I forgot about the frost.’ That’s something I need to be more prepared for,” she said with a grin.
“Here in Virginia we know that the season can all come within the same week,” said Jason Elmore, a spokesperson for VDEM. “The colder temperatures are here. It’s already getting down below freezing at night.”
Officials encourage all Virginians to get their vehicles inspected now, before the weather consistently drops below freezing.
“Make sure you’re getting your maintenance done on it your tires checked,” Elmore said. “It is extremely important that you take it to a licensed mechanic. Make sure they know what they’re doing. Someone who is reputable. . . you’re driving ever day; you’re spending a lot of time in your life in your vehicle; you want to make sure it’s as safe as possible.”
Elmore said it is also a great idea to pack an emergency preparedness kit with items you might need if your car is disabled during a winter storm.
“Some items you can include in there are road flares if you do break down or get in an accident you can notify people. Make sure you have blankets. . . it’s also not a bad idea to have a couple bottles of water or some non-perishable foods,” he said.
HVAC and heating methods at your home should be inspected now, whether you own or rent, to make sure they’re in working order before dangerously cold temperatures arrive.
“If you do happen to lose power, lose your heat, don’t use some alternative sources like opening your stove or anything like that to warm your house,” Elmore said.
Hermosillo is not looking forward to the late winter but said she’ll be ready for what it throws our way this season.
“It’s kind of like ‘The Shining’ you know? Nothing on the trees, everything’s dead,” she said. “I just thought you should have commonsense and be ready for your day!”
You can review the NWS Winter Weather Outlook for Virginia here.
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