Let's be honest here, Shreveport-Bossier and North Louisiana doesn't get a lot of winter weather. During a normal year, there may be a handful of days around freezing. Every couple of years, we'll get some snow. But, overall, we don't have a lot of winter concerns.

However, that's about to change in a big, big way. The forecast next week is predicting ice and snow, as well as temps down into the single digits. Some days, with the wind chill, there's potential for temps to drop down below zero. So, if you've never experienced winter weather like this, you might want to prepare yourself now.

The big thing experts will tell you is to minimize travel and stay indoors. Not only does it reduce the risk of health concerns like hypothermia and frost bite, but extreme cold plays hell on vehicles. Those concerns could leave you stranded on the side of the highway or cause you to wreck.

Speaking of travel, if you have to go out, be sure to be prepared. Keep your gas tank at least half full to help prevent the tank from freezing (yes, that's a thing that really happens) and be sure that your car has plenty of anti-freeze and that your tires are fully aired up. It is also a good idea to build yourself a winter survival kit. Some of the items that you should keep in your vehicle are blankets, a coat, gloves, water, food, those handwarmer things hunters use, jumper cables, boots and a shovel. The goal is to have stuff to keep you safe and warm in your car, but in case you have to mobilize in an emergency situation, you don't want to be walking the highway in flip-flops and a t-shirt when it is -5 out.

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The other thing you need to be aware of is how you dress. I know this may seem like a given...but when it gets below freezing, you have to be properly dressed to prevent things like hypothermia and frost bite. Layer up! Flannels, sweaters, coats...layer up, but make sure you're able to move. A lot of people bundle up so much that they can't move, which is not good. Not only will it make it harder for you to move in an emergency situation but it also restricts blood flow which isn't good.

I know a lot of people hate the COVID masks...but, in this situation, face coverings are a good thing. When temps drop below freezing, the air in your lungs can cause dangerous reactions and could stop you from breathing properly. Crazy, right? But, that's why scarfs are so popular up north. You need to be protect your lungs from potential damage.

The other big thing to keep in mind is to stay dry. I know when it's freezing rain and snowing and all that it can be a difficult task, but do the best that you can. Instead of wearing a jean coat, wearing something that's waterproof, water resistant or not as absorbent (like leather, for instance). Wear boots instead of tennis shoes. I personally keep a change of clothes in my truck at all times for situations such as these, but that's just me.

Look, I know this may seem crazy to everyone in Shreveport-Bossier that's reading this. And I get it. If you've never had to deal with this kind of stuff before, this probably does seem excessive. But, if you get caught unprepared, you're going to have a bad time. I grew up in the north and spent a lot of times in the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. I've had to deal with similar weather most of my life. You can take my advice or leave it. Just know, that if the weather is even close to what they're calling for, you're going to wish you listened to at least some of this.

For more winter advice, you can check out this handy dandy survival guide from the Minnesota Government and National Weather Service. You can also check out the Winter Tips below to help you get prepared.

Read More: Winter Safety Tips

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