FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — Even though Northwest Arkansas is seeing snow earlier than normal this year, first responders across the area are prepared to help people in need despite the weather.

All around Northwest Arkansas, Christmas lights are going up and people are getting into the holiday spirit. However, many were not expecting the early snow we’ve seen this year.

“I was a little surprised this morning, people calling for wintery mix today,” said Sgt. Tony Murphy on Monday.

It’s been more than a decade since the area has seen more than an inch of snow in November. That was on November 30th, 2006. Despite the rarity of snow this early, Sgt. Murphy said the department needs to be ready.

“We prepare our vehicles when we know that a weather wintry mix is coming in and we wear stuff on our boots so we don’t slip,” he said.

He said people should be ready as well.

“You should have that survival pack in your car including a blanket, some of the hot hands, water inside your vehicle, jumper cables, make sure your phone is charged before you leave work or the house and make sure someone especially in inclement weather like this knows when you’re leaving,” he said.

Local EMS services are also ready to brave the elements if need be. Pafford Medical Services serves the city of Rogers and the hospitals in Benton County. It also provides air ambulances in Fort Smith.

“We have a full time emergency manager that manages our weather situations and potential weather outbreaks,” said Clay Hobbs, COO of Pafford Medical Services. “And then we try to be as proactive as we can with repositioning, ambulances, staff, and so forth for those weather events.”

A crash on southbound I-49 near exit 65 Monday evening caused major backup on the highway. Sgt. Murphy said it doesn’t take a lot of dicey weather to see impacts on the roads.

“There’s times when we have rainstorms when people are getting out of work and we’ll have 20 crashes at one time in the city,” he said. “So just play by ear, if it is an emergency, definitely call 911 but if it’s not, you can use that non emergency line at 479-587-3555.”

Precipitation from Monday’s weather system is not expected to freeze on the roads overnight. Most school districts are expected to be operating as usual Tuesday morning.