City of Colorado Springs / Emergency Management / Weather Information / Local Weather Hazards / Winter Storms / General Information

General Information

Although Colorado Springs generally experiences mild winters, typically the City is hit with one or two major snowstorms or extreme cold temperature events each year. One of the primary concerns is the winter weather’s ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.

Before a winter storm

  • Add rock salt, sand and snow shovels to your emergency supply kit.
  • Prepare your car for winter weather (e.g., test heater and defrosters, put in winter grade oil, ensure all-weather or snow tires are on).
  • Wear or take along several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing and carry gloves or mittens and a winter hat and scarf.
  • Stock sufficient heating fuel or wood for burning in case electricity or other fuel sources are interrupted.
  • Insulate walls and attics, caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves in case pipes freeze and burst.

During a winter storm

  • Conserve fuel by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
  • Ensure your ventilation pipes are not blocked. Blockages could create a back up of carbon monoxide in your home. During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.