Texans are accustomed to drastic changes in weather like the cold front last weekend that turned spring-like conditions into chilling drizzle with the chance of a wintry mix of ice and freezing rain.

But not everyone stays prepared for those changes, and the Governorís Division of Emergency Management is using today ó Several Winter Weather Awareness Day ó to remind Texans of how to stay safe and warm when winterís winds blow.

Severe winter weather can strand motorists traveling especially in the northern areas of state, but even Central and South Texas residents are not totally immune.

The office reports that about 70 percent of snow and ice related deaths occur in automobiles. So Texans who must travel when winter weather threatens should keep their gas tanks near full and should try not to travel alone. Survival kits should include blankets, bottled water, snacks, a windshield scraper, tow rope and a cell phone or two-way radio.

Ice storms can also interrupt utility service at homes, so battery-operated radios, extra medicine and supplies and a properly ventilated heating source like a fireplace are needed.

Winter conditions blow in quickly, so Texans should always be monitoring forecasts. Doing so can mean the difference between a bit of inconvenience and tragedy.

Brownwood Bulletin