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Stranded in your car during a blizzard? Here's what you should do

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While you shouldn't be traveling during a blizzard, some motorists will inevitably become trapped on the side of a road while a major winter storm is ongoing. If a blizzard traps you in the car, here's what you should do:

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  • Pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window.
  • Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close by where you know you can take shelter. Be careful; distances are distorted by blowing snow. A building may seem close, but be too far to walk to in deep snow.
  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation. Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
  • Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to look for rescue crews.
  • Eat regularly and drink ample fluids to avoid dehydration, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy needs - the use of lights, heat, and radio - with supply.
  • Turn on the inside light at night so work crews or rescuers can see you.
  • If stranded in a remote area, stomp large block letters in an open area spelling out HELP or SOS and line with rocks or tree limbs to attract the attention of rescue personnel who may be surveying the area by airplane.
  • Leave the car and proceed on foot - if necessary - once the blizzard passes.

Meteorologist/Staff Writer

Broadcast meteorologist for 15 years (Marquette, Michigan; Burlington, VT; Albany, NY; South Jersey). NBC40 Chief meteorologist from December 2003 through December 2014. Press meteorologist since January 2015

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Here is Your South Jersey Forecast

WEDNESDAY► Mainly cloudy with a few patches of drizzle and fog, otherwise drier.  Lighter winds and less cool with highs in the low to mid 60s.  North winds around 10mph.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT► Mostly cloudy with some patchy fog redeveloping. Lows in the mid 50s with winds becoming light and variable.

THURSDAY► Some patchy morning fog, then becoming partly sunny and milder, with highs in the low 70s on the mainland, 60-65 along the shore.  Southeast to south winds around 10mph.  A thundershower is possible Thursday night.

FRIDAY► A few morning clouds or patchy fog, then partly sunny as the warm-up continues, but remaining cooler along the shore.  Highs in the low 80s in the Pinelands, closer to 70 on the islands.  South winds around 15mph.

SATURDAY► Partly sunny and warm, likely the warmest day of the forecast, with highs in the low to mid 80s inland, low to mid 70s along the shore.  Winds from the southwest around 10-15mph.

SUNDAY► A back door front means a cooler and likely cloudier day compared to Saturday.  Mostly cloudy but remaining mostly dry with some breaks of sun.  Highs only in the mid 60s on the mainland, possibly mid to upper 50s along the shore.

MONDAY► Partly sunny, breezy, and warm with highs in the mid to upper 70s on the mainland, closer to 70 at the shore, with some late day or overnight scattered thunderstorms.  Brisk south to southwest winds around 10-20mph.

TUESDAY► Becoming partly sunny.  Breezy and drier with highs in the low 70s.