Winter Weather

Winter weather hazards in Routt County include heavy snow, ice, blizzard conditions, snow squalls, and extreme cold. Use this page to become #winterready!

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 surrounding areas and how you can best prepare for it.

For information about power outages, review the Yampa Valley Electric Association's Outage Center for details. If you are experiencing an emergency, dial 9-1-1.

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: 

Preparing Your Vehicle

It's important you prepare your vehicle before experiencing winter weather. If you will be traveling through the mountains and over mountain passes, it's even more critical you are well prepared in the event of an emergency as conditions can change rapidly and roads can quickly become impassable. Cell phone service may not be available. Additionally, traction laws may be in effect for passenger and commercial vehicles due to weather. It is your responsibility to know what these laws mean.

Make sure everything in and on your vehicle is functioning properly and safely, including:

  • Windshield wipers and fluid
  • Heater/defroster
  • Lights
  • Tire tread of at least 3/16"
  • Battery life
  • Brakes
  • Maintain your vehicle following the manufacturer's recommended maintenance plan or whatever your mechanic recommends

In addition, consider keeping the following in your vehicle:

  • Ice scraper, snow brush, and/or snow shovel
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Cell phone charger or battery pack
  • 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.
  • Snacks
  • Kitty litter or another material for traction
  • Flagging or cones to alert others if you need assistance
  • 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. If you must travel, alert someone of your travel plans and when you should be expected to depart and arrive.

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 regularly
  • 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. Keep food on hand that does not need to be refrigerated or cooked in case you do not have power or a way to cook.
    • One gallon of water per person is a general recommendation
    • Have a manual can opener available to open canned goods
    • It is not safe to use a grill or propane stove indoors or in areas with low ventilation. The safest places to use these appliances is outdoors, away from flammable materials, and with plenty of ventilation
  • Know where to go if you lose power and need to leave your home - make sure you are receiving emergency alerts. Sign up for RouttCountyAlerts if you haven't already
  • Check on your neighbors, if possible and safe to do so
  • Young children and the elderly may need extra assistance or support to make sure they are safe, warm, and have food and water
  • 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
  • Always call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency
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