As Old Man Winter continues to show his strength, it’s important to prepare for all weather conditions, including frigid temperatures and wind advisories and warnings.
WHEN THE WIND BLOWS…
A wind advisory means that there are sustained winds from 31 to 39 mph for at least an hour, or any gusts from 46 to 57 mph.
The Department of Emergency Services encourages residents to take the minor precautionary measures while the advisory is in effect:
- Be cautious while driving high-profile vehicles.
- Secure all outdoor objects that may blow away, including outdoor furniture.
- Check the news often for any weather updates.
Should a wind advisory become a high wind warning, it is advised that you stay indoors to avoid hazardous situations on roads and around buildings, telephone poles, and trees. A high wind warning means that there are sustained winds from 40-73 mph for at least an hour, or gusts of 58 mph or higher. When under a high wind warning, be sure to:
- Secure or move indoors any lightweight items.
- Avoid staying in light or poorly constructed structures that may blow down or collapse.
- Stay away from fallen power lines.
SEVERE COLD CAN BE JUST AS DANGEROUS…
For You and Your Family – The greatest threats are hypothermia and frostbite. For example, if you go outside with exposed skin in 7-degree temperature and 40 mph winds, you can develop frostbite in 24 minutes. Hypothermia is caused by a drop in core body temperature. Children, seniors, and those who are thin or sick are most susceptible. Layers of clothing, hats, scarves, and gloves can help to maintain body temperature.
For Your Home/Property – The greatest concern in severe weather is loss of heat, power, and communication. Cover drafty windows with cellophane insulation, or towels. Pipes can be wrapped in insulation or newspapers for the short term. Keep faucets at a drip to help prevent pipes from freezing. Know how to shut off your water in the event of a burst pipe. Have a fire extinguisher on hand, especially if you are using alternative heat sources like space heaters. Keep your thermostat set at a reasonable and comfortable temperature – do not adjust your heat up and down repeatedly. Be sure the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors are up-to-date. Keep cell phones charged, batteries and flashlights handy. Wireless house phones will not work if you lose power, though regular land phones may.
For Your Pets – Pets should not be kept outside in extremely cold weather. If your pet is an outdoor pet, you still need to provide a shelter that is dry, draft-free, and has enough room. It should be warm enough that their water dish will not freeze. Before starting your car, bang on your car hood or honk your horn in the event a cat or small animal may have crawled underneath for warmth. When your pets come inside, wipe their paws to get salt/chemicals off their pads. And always keep antifreeze away from all animals.
For Your Vehicles – Make sure your gas tank is full and your antifreeze and windshield wiper fluids are sufficient. Make sure your vehicle emergency kit is updated and stocked.
Once you’re certain that you and your family are safe and warm, please take a moment to check on your neighbors! For additional information, safety tips, and public outreach resources, visit www.ready.gov/winter-weather. In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1.