Winter Weather Preparedness

Weather awareness is key for winter preparedness. Winter can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice and high winds along with a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Follow the tips below to stay prepared this winter.

Preparing for winter weather:

Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.

Follow these tips to help keep you, your family and neighbors prepare for winter storms:

  1. Know your area’s risk for winter storms: Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time. Learn your winter weather terms below. 
  2. Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms: Sign up for AC Alert, the City of Hayward's emergency alert system. Updates about weather events and emergencies will also be sent out via our City newsletters and on social media. Follow us on social by visiting the Hayward Social webpage.  Visit the National Weather Service webpage for weather forecasts.
  3. Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power: Create your emergency kit, keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights and portable chargers for your mobile devices. Learn more on
  4. Create an emergency supply kit for your car: Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.
  5. Check on your family and neighbors: Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.

Winter Weather Terms

► Winter Storm Warning: Issued when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring. Winter Storm Warnings are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.
► Winter Storm Watch: Alerts the public to the possibility of a blizzard, heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. Winter Storm Watches are usually issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a Winter Storm.
► Winter Weather Advisory: Issued for accumulations of snow, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet which will cause significant inconveniences and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life-threatening situations.

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Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Failing to evacuate flooded areas or entering flood waters can lead to injury or death. Floods may:
  • Result from rain, snow, coastal storms, storm surges and overflows of dams and other water systems.
  • Develop slowly or quickly. Flash floods can come with no warning.
  • Cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings and create landslides.

Prepare for flooding:

  1. Make a plan for your household, including your pets, so that you and your family know what to do, where to go, and what you will need to protect yourselves from flooding. Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response. Gather supplies, including non-perishable foods, cleaning supplies, and water for several days, in case you must leave immediately or if services are cut off in your area.
  2. Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies. Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.
  3. Visit FEMA's Flood Map Service Center to know types of flood risk in your area.  Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  4. Sign up for AC Alert and follow your City on social media for local updates, including where to pick-up sandbags and who to contact to report flooding, downed trees and powerlines, and other dangerous situations. 

During a flood:

  • Evacuate immediately, if told to evacuate. Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
  • Contact your healthcare provider If you are sick and need medical attention. Wait for further care instructions and shelter in place, if possible. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
  • Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions regarding flooding.
  • Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown!
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning.
  • Stay inside your car if it is trapped in rapidly moving water. Get on the roof if water is rising inside the car.
  • Get to the highest level if trapped in a building. Only get on the roof if necessary and once there signal for help. Do not climb into a closed attic to avoid getting trapped by rising floodwater.

Be safe after a flood

After the rains and flooding have stopped you may be tempted to return to your home immediately to assess the damage and start repairing but this may not be safe. Pay attention to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe. You should avoid driving, except in emergencies. 

Other tips and situations to be mindful of:

  • Be aware that snakes and other animals may be in your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up.
  • Avoid wading in floodwater, which can contain dangerous debris and be contaminated. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.

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