According to the National Weather Service, cold temperatures were a factor in the deaths of three people in Illinois last year.
That's substantially lower than the 10-year national average of 27 fatalities. Authorities in the state want to keep it that way.
The Illinois Emergency Management Agency says now is the time for residents to make sure cars and homes are equipped with cold-weather essentials.
Along with the National Weather Service and the American Red Cross, the agency has put together some tips available online at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
Warning Coordination Meteorologist Chris Miller of the weather service says people should outfit their cars with blankets, non-perishable food, boots and extra clothing.
At home, people should have at least three days' worth of essentials to ride out a storm without power.