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NWS promotes Winter Hazard Awareness Week in Minnesota

As a storm looms on the horizon for the Midwest, federal agencies are reminding Minnesota residents this week is Winter Hazard Awareness Week. The National Weather Service and the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management u...

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As a storm looms on the horizon for the Midwest, federal agencies are reminding Minnesota residents this week is Winter Hazard Awareness Week.

The National Weather Service and the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management use the week to promote winter safety and preparedness when snow and cold temperatures descend upon the Midwest.

The awareness week comes after the 76th anniversary of the Armistice Day Blizzard, which struck Minnesota on Nov. 11, 1940. Some consider that storm the worst of the 20th century, with few people prepared for the storm since the Twin Cities did not have a forecast office at the time, according to the weather service. Though the weather service in Chicago said to expect colder temperatures and a few flurries, the Twin Cities reported 16.7 inches of snow. Some areas received 2 feet of snow with 20-foot drifts reported near Willmar, Minn. Forty-nine Minnesotans died in the storm, with 150 deaths reported as a result of the Midwest storm.

Last season's snowfall in northwest Minnesota averaged less than 30 inches in some areas but as much as 40 inches in other parts of the region - down compared with the normal total that ranges from 30 to 50 inches.

Tips for staying safe during the winter include listening to the latest weather statements, winterizing vehicles and being equipped with a winter survival kit.

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When on the road, drivers should yield to plows. If you become stranded, stay in your vehicle until help arrives.

When in the elements, dress in layered clothing and avoid overexertion.

"Do not kill yourself shoveling snow," a statement on the weather service's website said. "Shoveling is very hard work and may induce a heart attack."

The weather service has more tips at www.weather.gov/fgf/WinterHazardAwarenessWeekinMinnesota2016 .

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