Winter weather hazards in Routt County include heavy snow, ice, blizzard conditions, snow squalls, and extreme cold.
According to the 2020 Routt County Hazard Mitigation Plan:
"Winter storms in Routt County, including strong winds and blizzard conditions, can result in property damage, localized power and phone outages and closures of streets, highways, schools, businesses, and non-essential government operations. People can also become isolated from essential services in their homes and vehicles. A winter storm can escalate, creating life threatening situations when emergency response is limited by severe winter conditions.
Other issues associated with severe winter weather include hypothermia and the threat of physical overexertion that may lead to heart attacks or strokes. Snow removal costs can also impact budgets significantly. Heavy snowfall during winter can also lead to flooding or landslides during the spring if the area snowpack melts too quickly."
Winter weather can impact our area for days or even weeks. Winter storms can strand passengers, limit supplies , disrupt emergency services, and lead to loss of power and communications. It's important to understand winter weather in Routt County and how you can best prepare for it.
Winter weather can change rapidly, especially in the mountains. Always check the latest weather forecasts and road conditions before you travel.
Check out these great resources to help your prepare for winter weather:
- National Weather Service, Grand Junction - Check the Forecast
- National Weather Service - Cold Weather Safety
- National Weather Service - Winter Preparedness Checklist
- COTrip - Check Road Conditions
- CDOT - Passenger and Commercial Vehicle Chain Laws
- CDOT - Winter Driving Preparedness
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) - Prepare for Extreme Cold
- CDC - Manténgase seguro durante y después de una tormenta invernal
- Ready.gov - Winter Weather
- Ready.gov - Avalanches
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Winter Driving Tips
Preparing Your Vehicle
The Routt County Office of Emergency Management recommends you prepare your home and vehicle prior to the winter season.
For your vehicle make sure everything is functioning properly and safely, including:
- Windshield wipers and fluid
- Tire tread of at least 3/16"
- Battery life
In addition, consider keeping the following in your vehicle:
- Ice scraper, snow brush, and/or snow shovel
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Cell phone charger
- Blanket or sleeping bag
- Bottled water
- First aid kit and medications
- Tire chains
- Tow chains or straps
- Jumper cables
- Extra warm clothing, including hats, gloves, boots, etc.
- Kitty litter or another material for traction
- Paper road maps
- Keep gas tank near full to help prevent ice in the tank and lines
When possible, stay off the roads during winter weather.
Preparing Your Home and Family
You can use these tips and the other resources on this page to help prepare your home and family for winter weather.
- Use insulation, caulking, or weather stripping to keep out the cold
- Make sure you have a safe way to heat your home
- Have your chimney or flue inspected
- If you use propane to heat your home, make sure your propane tank is filled
- Wrap or insulate your pipes, if possible
- If the power is off for an extended amount of time and you are worried your pipes may freeze, leave water taps slightly open so they drip and open any cabinet doors that have pipes within them so warmer air can get to the pipes.
- Install and regularly test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
- Have enough food and water stored for each person in your family + pets for at least three days. Store food that does not need to be cooked in case you do not have power or a way to cook.
- One gallon of water per person is a general recommendation
- Know where to go if you lose power and need to leave your home - make sure you are receiving emergency alerts
- Check on your neighbors, if possible
- Young children and the elderly may need extra support to make sure they are safe and warm
- Take your time shoveling snow, learn how to properly shovel, take frequent breaks, and don't over exert yourself
- Wear appropriate clothing layers if you must venture outside
- Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia
- Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency