Be prepared for winter

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Be prepared for winter


If the past few weeks are any indication of what’s ahead, we are in for a rude awakening this winter. As of this printing, the first major snowfall of 2018 might have already descended upon us. Hopefully, that’s not the case. However, even if we manage to dodge a storm this time around, the probability of having a major snowstorm hit our area over the next couple of months is more than likely. Even without the precipitation, though, the icy temperatures can cause harm. So, better be prepared to handle what’s ahead.

Here are just a few suggestions:

First, keep the gas tank of your car filled in case of an emergency, but stay off of icy roads as much as possible for obvious reasons. During a snowstorm, park cars in driveways or on front lawns if necessary to clear the roads for snowplows.

Make sure home water pipes are properly insulated, especially those that run through unheated areas of the house such as garages, basements, attics, crawl spaces and exterior walls. The latter is especially necessary when water pipes – such as those in a bathroom – are located on outside walls. One good tip is to run hot water through sink and shower faucets several times a day to make sure the lines are heated and in working condition. Frozen pipes can lead to broken pipes that could result in major flooding inside of the home.

 Keep your pantry shelves stocked during the winter to cut down on trips to the market. Do whatever else is necessary to limit outdoor activity in severe weather, but if you have to go out, make sure you’re dressed warmly and in layers. 

Take into consideration that wind chill lowers any set temperature significantly, making it feel a lot colder on your skin than it actually is. Here’s an example: if it’s 30 degrees Fahrenheit outside, a mildly breezy day of 15-mile-per-hour winds will make it feel like 19 degrees, which over a period of time outdoors (more than 30 minutes) could lead to hypothermia or even frostbite. 

These same precautions apply to pets. Keep them indoors except for brief outdoor jaunts to relieve themselves. Remember that if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. NOAA has a chart you can follow to determine dangerous exposure on the website:

Stay warm; stay safe.