Be Ready For a Bitter Cold Wave
The U.S. was sparred for the first two-thirds of winter this year, but a shift towards ENSO-Neutral now expanding into spring means that the Arctic polar vortex that has developed will be here and make for a colder than normal start to springtime. This also will ensure that spring will not be as below normal in the overall, as it would have been had the cold came down the way it did. These style of waves are fairly predictable and since it is so late in the winter season, the sub-zero weather’s days are numbered. but in the meantime here are some tips and pointers for beating the winter blues. With the cold, comes inevitable cold snaps and bitter cold temperatures. Here are some tips and pointers to assist before, during and after a cold snap sets in.
PREPARATION BEFORE A COLD WAVE:
- Make sure your insurance is up to date, and that acts of God are all covered. Proper annual review of your insurance is always an asset, and you should review these with and without your insurance broker to make sure that there are no unpleasant surprises when disaster strikes.
- Make sure that you are in touch with the elderly and disabled people in your life. They require extra attention in any cold spell.
- Make sure that your windows are all working properly and completely closed before bitter conditions set in. Once it is cold, it will be very hard to slide or latch them.
- Make sure all glass panes that are not double-pane or weather resistant, that an extra layer of protection that is available at most home repair centers, is installed on the glass, before the cold snap.
- Make sure that you have had a timely heater check-up with an HVAC professional before the cold snap, or before the season. Cleaning the ducts is a plus.
- Make sure that you have back up space hating available in case of a heater outage.
- Have gloves, multi-layered clothing, as many coats, a snow suit and thermals ready.
- Make sure that you have plenty of salt, sand and/or supplies in order to make sure that icicle melting does not become a major problem. The last thing you need to have happen is for you or another person slip and slide. Make sure that your insurance covers falls in case of a problem—before the storm. Remember, salt does not work in sub-zero the same, it will not melt, but it can etch into the ice to provide more traction.
- Make sure that you have plenty of gasoline in your car. Have safety equipment in the trunk and keep two flashlights, one in the car and once in the trunk. Kitty litter (standard, not clumping) works in case of sliding and getting stuck. Keep a shovel in the trunk. Have your emergency roadside assistance number ready ahead of time.
- Consult your auto’s owners manual before using a gas “Heet” product in order to evaporate water from within the gas due to the cold, and buy the correct product, and use it accordingly.
- The snow will become very hard to handle because of the bitter cold, so take breaks and go inside often, always have a snow removal company on retainer.
- Do plenty of surplus shopping before a cold snap sets in.. Include plenty of food, bottled water, groceries—food and sundries.
- Make sure that your cell phone is properly charged, before any possible outages.
- Make sure that you have batteries, flashlights and emergency first aid equipment.
DURING A COLD WAVE:
- Pay attention to the latest weather reports and make wise decisions.
- Make sure that you are keeping in touch with the elderly and disabled people in your life as often as possible and consider their safety priority number one. They require extra attention throughout any cold spell.
- Even though it’s harder to operate your snow blower, it may require more care as it is a harsher startup, and while operating make sure you blow the snow away from you so the mist of snow doesn’t hit you and further exasperate your thermal conditions. Make sure operation of any mechanical equipment, that you are paying full attention to the equipment despite the frigid temperatures. If a snow blower injury happens, it will be very devastating. A common blower can lead to amputations and even death, so please be very careful.
- Alcohol: Avoid operating equipment, machinery, your car—even in normal conditions—under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Alcohol is a no-no while being out in the cold—because drinking alcohol in the cold can put you at higher risk for hypothermia, dehydration and injury. Despite the thought of it giving a “warming” effect, it actually does quite the opposite to the body. Alcohol always decreases your core body temperature, even in normal conditions. Intoxication can further your discretion and you may not be able to “feel” a condition from being out in the cold in a timely enough manner to really be safe.
- If you must shovel, try to have someone pay attention to you while out shoveling. If injury happens, time can be of essence, specially in the cold.
- Dress properly. Gloves, boots, and enough clothing to make sure that cold does not become a problem. Three items to pay attention to are:
- Hypothermia, or lowering of or too low of body temperature. If you feel faint or think a heart condition develops due to being too cold, call 9-1-1 and follow doctors orders.
- Frostbite, or a local skin or limb being exposed to too cold a temperature that blood flow is cut off to the limb. If it happens call 9-1-1 and follow doctors orders.
- Make sure ice is covered with sand and/or salt. Make sure that you are very careful not to go down due to a fall, especially in the cold. Lower back injury is the most prominent way of being injured and it definitely isn’t better in cold conditions.
- Never shovel too long in the cold. Pay attention to the condition of all your limbs as you go. If you think you may be coming down with frostbite, desist shoveling and start emergency treatment immediately. If you believe it is frostbite, make arrangements to to the the emergency room or call 9-1-1. Always be properly clothed, and a snow suit isn’t a bad idea. If you have any chest pains or breathing problems, stop shoveling immediately, go inside and assess whether to call 9-1-1.
- For your auto, using a gas “Heet” product in order to evaporate water from within the gas due to the cold is not a bad idea. As stated above, always consult your auto’s owners manual before using any product for compatibility.
- Start all of your cars once daily at 0°F, more times in lower negative temperatures for a minimum of 5 minutes. It serves to get the oil viscosity to be not so thick to start, and puts a charge back in to your auto battery.
- Use gloves while using a brush and window scraper for your windshield, to try to minimize risk of frostbite. Try to make sure you are not sealed out of your car, from ice or other elements. Use your safety equipment, shovel, flashlights, kitty litter if you slide or get stuck.
- If you get stuck, call for emergency roadside assistance as soon as possible in order to get the heat on in the car.
- Make sure that no liquids with water in them are left out in the car or garage, as the cans or bottles may explode.
- Make sure you do not run space heater unattended or overnight or while napping.
- If your power goes out, all land-lines usually won’t work, so you will probably have to use your properly charged cell phone. Make sure that you have outdoor clothing available in order to wear indoors if the power is out for an extended time period.
- If your power goes out, call the power company, and make sure that devices using gas and electric are not used. Always smell for natural gas, and if it is present, turn the gas off at the main and call the gas company. Frigid temperatures are times that if you elected to buy into a power back-up generation system, you will be so glad that you did
- It is always a handy item to take before photos for your information and insurance purposes. Keep them current and up to date as much as possible. They may be necessary to assist your later damages from the storm.
- If you do have a problem, take photos, and save them to consult after the storm with your insurance agent.
Save calling police and fire for emergencies calls only. Don’t call them for maintenance or city public works related issues. Keep the emergency numbers open for persons having real emergencies. Here are some survival tips:
- Stay informed by monitoring the storm by radio, and if power is still an option, plug in the TV, and/or internet. A battery operated NOAA.com weather radio is most helpful.
AFTER A COLD WAVE:
- Access any and all damages carefully and pay attention to safety.
- Make sure that you have kept in touch with the elderly and disabled people in your life to make sure that they have made it all the way through any cold wave. They will continue to love and appreciate that you have showed them the love and care they deserve.
- Call insurance and only follow the following tips after proper accessing has been done, and don’t forget to take photos first before you fix damages. keep all receipts for supplies, fixing–for insurance or to claim a loss.
- If you had to turn off any utilities, access the possibility and turn on utilities ONLY if possible.
- Make sure that you replenish salt as the snow or ice melts and once the weather turns for a thaw, they will help assist with general safety. Repeat the above “during the storm” tips as necessary until a complete thaw.
- Check up on the sump pumps and drains, and make sure they are operating properly, so that a thaw can terminate on a good note.
- Continue to make frequent checks on the outside drainage similar to that of during the storm. Blocked sewer can be devastating, particularly if the thaw ends and the cold starts up again.
- If there is any damages, it may take several weeks to dispose of refuse, make sure if any waste is hazardous to dispose of properly.
- Have any property that is not functioning maintained or replaced as necessary.
- Fix the decor to return everything to it’s normal state.
Bitter winter cold conditions are a nasty fact of life, but truly is a part of life that all have to deal with, given being from the north. They are not going away, and we need to be prepared, and be safe.
FIND YOUR LOCAL NOAA.com WEATHER RADIO STATION:
FIND YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORESCAST:
6 thoughts on “Tips For Playing it Safe During a Severe Cold Wave”
This is such a detailed list of how to be prepared for a deep winter cold wave, thank you so much for sharing! We just had one of these last week, and being in Texas we weren’t prepared.
These are really great tips. We love to play outside no matter what the weather. The children always sleep better too after spending time outside.
Our area just got hit by a snowstorm. I am trying to have items prepared if something happens again.
Thanks for this very informtive nd interesting article.
Thank you for sharing these really smart tips!