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STATEWIDE–This week is Winter Weather Preparedness Week. It is a week where the National Weather Service in Indianapolis is urging you to get ready for all of the threats associated with winter.

Winter can bring some very large swings in temperatures.

“There is a potential for heavy amounts of snow, rain, and ice throughout the course of the winter. These are things that we typically see in Indiana, so we need to be prepared for those as we head into the winter months,” said Crystal Pettet, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

Pettet said if you’re going to be traveling, it is a good idea to have a “winter preparedness kit” with you.

“Things like a shovel or cat litter to gain some traction for your vehicle. You would also want to have some kind of food with you, water, and a flashlight. Some extra blankets or something to keep you warm would be good. You don’t usually have to tell someone to have their cell phone these days, but maybe make sure you grab your charger. Those are things we encourage people to bring with them,” said Pettet.

Joe Skowronek is also a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis. He said it is important to pay attention to the wind chill more than the temperature, especially the colder it gets.

“The winds will make the temperatures feel a lot colder. The wind chill is what can cause frostbite in people, not necessarily the temperatures. You could have a low temperature and not as much wind. That wouldn’t be nearly as much of a problem as higher temperatures with higher winds,” said Skowronek.

Skowronek said the best way to avoid frostbite is to stay inside on extremely cold days. If you have to go outside, wear gloves and make sure all of your skin is covered.

If you get into a tough situation, the National Weather Service says you need to know the difference between 911 and 211. 911 is for emergencies and life-threatening situations. 211 is for non-emergencies and general information. 211 will offer information on disaster preparedness, up-to-the-minute information on road closures and evacuations, disaster relief assistance, and recovery sources.