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Experts Offer Winter Preparedness Tips

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With the powerful storms hitting the Mother Lode this weekend, County Fire Marshall Kary Hubbard says City of Sonora and Tuolumne County officials are issuing safety tips to assist residents with winter weather preparedness.

If you think you might need sand bags, get them ahead of time at your local hardware store and ask how to use them properly to avoid creating more of a problem than help.

Make sure all space heaters work properly and are kept away from walls, curtains and furniture.

Check the batteries in your portable radio and listen to local radio stations, such as AM 1450 KVML, 93.5 KKBN or Star 92.7 for current weather information.

Around homes and businesses, clear rain gutters, catch basins and drainage ditches of leaves and other material that could keep water from draining, causing flooding.

Don´t forget outdoor pets and livestock. Make sure they have a source of water that will not freeze and a warm place to take shelter from wind and cold. Make sure there´s enough food available for a prolonged cold spell or a snowstorm.

Avoid driving in storms, if you have to drive, drive slowly and keep headlines on.

Patti Roberts with the State Bureau of Automotive Repair offers tips to help during winter driving conditions in the Mother Lode.

It´s simple things that can make winter driving easier, such as replacing wiper blades and keeping the gas tank filled. Keep the cell phone batteries charged and in the car with you and make sure headlights and brake lights work.

If you plan on being in the high country, pack a winter storm vehicle survival kit, including blankets or sleeping bags, additional warm clothing, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first aid kit, a knife, high calorie, non-perishable food such as candy bars, drinking water and a card game or book to read.