Stay weather aware all winter long


Each year, winter returns to Iowa and produces winter storms, blizzards, ice storms and periods of extremely cold temperatures as well as dangerous wind chills. A big part of being prepared for winter weather is being aware of potential hazards. One preparedness step for Iowans to take now is to sign up for emergency alerts through Alert Iowa.


Alert Iowa is an emergency notification system currently available in 75 counties. By signing up for alerts, residents in those counties can receive notifications about winter weather and other hazards and emergency conditions.


“Alert Iowa is a great tool to help Iowans stay aware of winter weather hazards,” said Lindsey Mosher, Alert Iowa program manager. “Alert Iowa is user friendly, and allows people to sign up to receive alerts in a variety of ways, including by text, cell phone or land-line calls or email. So no matter where you are, you will know if winter weather and other hazards might impact you or your family.”

To learn which counties are offering Alert Iowa and how to sign up, click here to visit HSEMD’s website.


“It’s extremely important to stay aware of changing weather conditions,” said Ken Harding, meteorologist-in-charge at the Des Moines National Weather Service. “Download a weather alert app to your mobile phone, purchase a NOAA Weather Radio, or pay attention to local news and weather reports for the latest information on winter weather that is headed your way.”

Winter weather information from the NWS Des Moines office can be found on the NWS website. Check your local National Weather Service office for more information on winter weather.


There are a few “must haves” when winterizing your car or home:

  • A supply of food and water for each person in your home for at least three days
  • At least a week’s supply of essential medications
  • Personal hygiene items
  • First aid kit
  • Battery-operated flashlight and NOAA Weather Radio (and extra batteries)
  • Extra clothing/bedding

Some items just for your vehicle:

  • Window scraper
  • Jumper cables
  • Kitty litter or sand (for traction)
  • Small shovel and other tools
  • Brightly-colored cloth to use as a flag should you become stuck

In addition, before you drive this winter, you should have a mechanic check all your car’s systems and fluid levels.


Keeping track of changing weather conditions is very important during an Iowa winter. For additional information on how to do this, click here. Additional information about winter weather and winter driving safety, can be found by clicking here.