JACKSON Wyo. — It’s only the beginning of the 2022-2023 winter season, but Teton County has already experienced harsh winter conditions.
November 2022 was tied for the snowiest November since November 2000, and December hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down either. While this strong early season has been a treat for winter recreationists, it also presents hazards and Teton County Emergency Management wants locals to “know before they go” this winter. This means to plan ahead, be aware of potential hazards and take responsibility for your own safety during outdoor pursuits.
Check the forecast
Always check the forecast from the National Weather Service, local forecasters and the weather app of choice before you head outside. Remember to also check the daily avalanche forecast from the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center at www.jhavalanche.org.
Understand winter weather terminology
- A Winter Storm Warning means that heavy snow, sleet, an ice storm, and/or blowing snow is expected in the next 12-24 hours. These warnings are issued when confidence is high that a winter storm will occur and cause significant impacts.
- A Winter Storm Watch means that snow, sleet, ice, and/or blowing snow is possible in the next 12-48 hours and you should be prepared. These watches are issued when confidence is medium that a winter storm will occur and cause impacts
- A Winter Weather Advisory means that wintry weather is expected and you should be prepared for impacts, especially to travel. Light amounts of wintry precipitation or patchy blowing snow will cause slick conditions.
Prepare for the unexpected
Dress for the outdoors even when not planning on being outside. When traveling, avoid going alone when possible and let someone know a likely timetable and route(s). Carry items in your vehicle to handle common winter driving-related tasks and emergencies, including:
- Snow shovel and ice scraper
- Extra windshield wiper fluid with de-icer
- Abrasive material (sand or kitty litter)
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight and warning devices (flares and emergency markers)
- Blankets and/or layers of warm clothing
- Cell phone and battery pack/charger
- Water, food, and any necessary medicine
- A full tank of gas
- Local forecast office: www.weather.gov/riw/
- Winter weather safety information: www.weather.gov/safety/winter
- Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center: https://bridgertetonavalanchecenter.org/
- Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT): www.wyoroad.info
- Backcountry Zero Winter Resources: www.backcountryzero.com/winter National
- Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): www.nhtsa.gov/winter-driving-tips