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EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS OFFICE (EPO)

Extreme Cold Weather

Many parts of California experience extremely cold weather and hazardous conditions in winter, including severe snow, ice storms and blizzard-like conditions. Freezing rain, heavy snow and high winds can knock out power and communication services and block roads isolating people from help. Any one of these conditions could pose a serious danger.

When a winter storm is approaching your area, monitor your local television and radio stations, the National Weather Service or the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association for current weather information.

Health hazards​

The onset of cold weather also brings on the threat of colds and flu. The common cold virus, called rhinovirus, spreads more easily in winter months because more people are indoors for prolonged periods of time. Washing your hands, getting a flu shot, and boosting your immune system with a healthy diet are key to preventing colds and the flu.

Cold weather also increases the risk of heart attack in winter months. Visit your doctor to help assess and monitor your other cardiovascular risks, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

It's important to dress properly during cold weather to reduce the risk of heart attack and avoid illness, so plan:

  • To wear at least three layers of loose fitting clothing, depending on the outdoor temperature. Layering provides better insulation. Do not wear tight fitting clothing.
  • An inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic will keep moisture away from the body; cotton loses insulation value when it becomes wet.
  • A middle layer of wool or synthetic provides insulation even when wet.
  •  An outer wind and rain protection layer allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.
  • Wear a hat or hood to help keep your whole body warmer: hats reduce the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.
  • Use a knit mask to cover the face and mouth (if needed).
  • Use insulated gloves to protect the hands (water resistant if necessary).
  • Wear insulated and waterproof boots (or other footwear).
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