First dose of winter weather: What to prepare for

What to prepare for with our first dose of winter weather

BOSTON — As rain turns into snow, Massachusetts will not only experience the first snow of the season throughout the state, but also the bitter cold that it'll bring.

While the white stuff might not stick to the ground just yet, drivers should be prepared for the changes in the road.

MassDOT says they have been preparing since June to make sure the roads will be ready for this winter. Crews have approximately 300,000 tons of salt stored at locations across the state along with 800,000 gallons of magnesium chloride and salt brine for the season.

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For drivers, making sure your car is ready for winter is crucial.

"We would advise people to do some planning, Tuesday morning while it’s still warm check your tires, check your wipers, have any necessary repairs done at that point, do an oil change," said Mary McGuire, a spokesperson for AAA Northeast.

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Experts say there are four main things to consider when preparing your car for the winter - make sure your tires, battery, wipers and winter emergency kit are ready.

Despite their warnings, AAA says batteries are the main thing they expect to get calls about on Tuesday.

"What many people don’t know is that the hot temperatures also drain your battery so let’s say your battery is at the end of its useful life and then it hits 12 degrees - that could be the end of your battery," said McGuire.

Now is the time to go check on your battery and ensure you have jumper cables on hand, just in case.

Along with dead batteries, AAA says they get many calls for lockouts.

"What we do find at AAA Northeast is that a lot of people in the process of warming up their car lock their keys in their car so be vigilant if you’re warming up your car, keep a spare key with you in the house," said McGuire.

But, police say don't leave your car unlocked and unattended, making it an invitation for thieves.

McGuire also added that warming up your car before hitting the road is unnecessary.

"Warming your car up for 30 seconds really is sufficient to get all the fluids going," said McGuire.

Whether you've lived in New England for a couple of years or your entire life, many say it seems like winter weather sneaks up on us every year.

"It’s come a little bit early this year, so I’m used to it coming a bit in December," said one resident. "It was [in the] upper 60’s last week and next thing you know it’s 20 degrees at night, and we'll be blasting the heat."

But, a lot of New Englanders say they're naturally prepared for whatever Mother Nature brings.

"I’m a Northeast boy, born and raised, so I’m ready for it," said one resident.

Stay Informed:

Utilize Massachusetts Alerts to receive emergency notifications and information from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service.  Massachusetts Alerts is a free app that is available for Android and iPhones. Click to learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone.

Utilize MEMA's real-time power outage viewer to stay informed about current power outages in your community and region, and across the state, including information from utility companies about restoration times.

Utilize MEMA's live weather radar and forecasting tools.

Online Resources:

For additional information and resources, visit:
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at www.mass.gov/mema
MEMA's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA
MEMA Twitter: @MassEMA
Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.fema.gov
National Weather Service/Taunton at www.weather.gov/boston
National Weather Service/Albany, NY at www.weather.gov/albany
National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center: http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov
National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center:  http://www.spc.noaa.gov/
Mass211 at www.mass211.org

Winter driving tips from MassDOT: 

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights, even the hood and roof, before driving, (start with the tailpipe).
  • Leave plenty of room for stopping.
  • Remember that the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.
  • Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.
  • Bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road.
  • Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line.
  • Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows – stay back at least 200 feet and don't pass on the right.
  • Seat belts should be worn at all times – it's the law.
  • Most importantly please remember to slow down.

ADDITIONAL SNOW CONTENT: