Weather Wednesday

Rick Atterberry, EDEN Immediate Past Chair begins a new series about weather with this post. 

Freezing cold thermometer iconMany northern and central states have Wind Chill Warnings or Advisories this week.  Wind chills tonight may exceed 60-degrees below zero in some areas.  In that range frostbite may occur to exposed flesh within minutes.  In addition, recent snowfall in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and several other states was of the dry and fluffy variety.  There is a high chance for blowing and drifting snow even though no new snow will be falling.  Visibilities will be reduced and travel may be difficult.

Here’s a link to a very brief summary of best practices from FEMA. The FEMA release includes a further link to more information from NOAA’s National Weather Service.

Several key messages:

  • Check on relatives, friends and neighbors, especially those who are homebound or have special needs.
  • If you have plumbing along exterior walls or in uninsulated spaces leave a trickle of water running and/or open under-sink cabinet doors.
  • Do not attempt to use a blowtorch or other heating device such as a paint stripping gun to thaw frozen pipes.  Get warm air circulating around the pipes or call a plumber.
  • Make sure your Carbon Monoxide detectors are operating properly and have fresh batteries.
  • Do not use a stove, oven or other appliance designed for intermittent use as a heat source.
  • Never fill a kerosene heater indoors.  Allow the unit to cool and fill it outdoors.
  • Avoid using extension cords with electric heaters.  Occasionally feel the attached cord on the heater and the wall outlet into which it is plugged.  If either the cord or the outlet is warm to the touch discontinue use of the heater.
  • Never warm up a vehicle by operating the engine in an enclosed space such as an attached garage.
  • Keep vehicle fuel tanks topped up.
  • If you must travel, make sure you let people know your intended route and anticipated time of arrival.  Leave home with a fully charged cell phone if possible and make sure you have a charger with you.  Keep an emergency kit in your car including a flashlight, high energy food bars, bottled water or a safe means to melt snow for drinking, blanket, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, jumper cables, etc.
  • Stay aware of the official names of the roads on which you are travelling and note mile markers or intersections in case you need to report your location.
  • Stay with your vehicle if it becomes stuck or disabled.   Run the vehicle for about ten minutes each hour to provide heat, but crack a window away from the exhaust pipe when doing so and make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow.
  • Do not use cruise control when roads are wet, icy or snow-covered.

Most importantly, give the first responders, tow truck operators and snowplow drivers a break and stay home if at all possible.