(StatePoint) Preparing for unpredictable winter weather? Take stock of your home, vehicle and planning tools to ensure your family stays safe and warm all winter long.

Luckily, AccuWeather’s expert meteorologists know a thing or two about predicting the unexpected. They shared their top winter tips.

Stay Safe on the Road


If you’re among the 74% of Americans planning to travel for the holidays, the AccuWeather app’s MinuteCast forecast can help you predict when to hit the road. It provides a constantly updating minute-by-minute look at precipitation over the next two hours (soon to be expanded to four) locally and at your destination.

AccuWeather meteorologists make sure they’re prepped for the road before leaving. “If your car’s snow accessories have been sitting for a long time, it may be wise to make sure they’re in proper working order,” recommends senior meteorologist, Paul Pastelok. This may include checking whether it’s time for an oil change.

In snowy climates, outfit your car with winter tires, which can withstand winter weather more effectively than all-season tires. Whether or not you’re traveling, ready your car by monitoring tire pressure, testing your car battery, keeping an eye on windshield and wiper blades and adding a coat of wax if you can.

Get Cozy at Home


Channel your inner meteorologist to keep the house safe. AccuWeather meteorologists have some simple hacks for preventing messes such as frozen pipes, broken radiators, flooding and leaks.

“Replace worn out weather stripping around windows and doors,” says AccuWeather senior meteorologist, David H. Dombek. “Also, ensure your rain gutters are cleared of leaves and other debris. Clogged gutters can lead to problems when it comes to snow, ice and below freezing temperatures.”

To prevent clogged drains, you can make a simple, environmentally-friendly mixture of salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar, then pour it into drains once a week. Opening cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom can help circulate warmer air around plumbing. In frigid conditions, let a bit of water drip from faucets, especially where pipes aren’t insulated. You can also unhook garden hoses before the first hard freeze to prevent busted pipes.

For older furnaces that may need replacing, schedule a tune-up. Senior meteorologist Alan Reppert also makes sure to clear leaves and snow away from his heat pump to ensure air flow. “Anything in the way of air flow can affect your heating system’s efficiency,” he notes.

To track rain, snow, cloud cover and potentially dangerous conditions so you can get the house winterized, use the mapping features on AccuWeather.com and on the app.  

Plan Ahead to Dine Outside


With COVID-19 cases on the rise and restrictions on indoor dining in effect nationwide, dining out can require advanced planning. When eating outdoors, factor in the variables associated with unpredictable winter weather. AccuWeather’s forecast provides info needed to plan a week out—plenty of time to make that reservation.

Meteorologist and emergency preparedness specialist Becky DePodwin also recommends checking AccuWeather’s RealFeel Temperature to determine what it’s actually going to feel like tableside. This can help you decide whether to venture outside, bring a blanket or opt for takeout. “Oftentimes in winter, especially if there’s any amount of wind going on, the temperature’s not going to be an adequate indication of what it feels like outside,” she says.

Get an Insider View


A one-size-fits-all weather report isn’t sufficient when it comes to planning. AccuWeather’s Winter Center page provides detailed winter weather predictions just like a meteorologist would, with everything from the newly added ice accumulation tracker to the wind speed calculator. You can also find forecasts designed for specific interests and needs, including the outlook for holidays, snow sports and longer-range looks at the months ahead.

All of AccuWeather’s winter prep resources are available at AccuWeather.com/en/us/Winter-Weather.

No matter what your winter plans are, you can plan with confidence like a meteorologist, for a safe, warm winter.

Photo 2 Credit: (c) Artfoliophoto / iStock via Getty Images Plus

Photo 3 Credit: (c) Dean Mitchell / iStock via Getty Images Plus