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Br-r-ring on the heat: 2010 off to cold start

Br-r-ring on the heat: 2010 off to cold start

Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 9:01 pm

 

A single word describes the weather so far in 2010. B-r-r-r-r-r-r. Unfortunately, it appears it’s going to get worse this week before it gets better. Although today’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies, highs are expected to reach only the mid-20s, with northwest winds at 5-10 mph and wind chill readings as low as 5 below 0 in the morning hours. Tonight, lows will dip to 5 to 10 degrees, accompanied by northwest winds around 5 mph and wind chill readings as low as 1 below to 4 above 0, according to the National Weather Service. The bitter cold is forecast to continue through Tuesday, when highs will reach the mid-20s and be accompanied by winds of 5 to 10 mph, resulting in wind chill readings as low as 2 below to 3 above 0 in the morning hours. Lows will drop to around 10 Tuesday night. Temperatures are forecast to be slightly warmer Wednesday, with highs around 30 during the day and lows in the lower 20s at night. However, there is also a 40 percent chance of snow Wednesday night. Snow is likely Thursday, when highs will be in the upper 20s. The chance of snow is 70 percent during the day, but that chance drops to 30 percent Thursday night. Lows are expected to be near 5. Going into the weekend, highs are forecast to be 15 to 20 both Friday and Saturday, with lows of 0 to 5 on Friday night and lows near 10 on Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service. Precautions for people Local residents — particularly the elderly — are being urged to exercise caution during the extremely cold conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers an online extreme cold prevention guide that can be downloaded as a PDF at www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/guide.asp. Some precautions recommended by the CDC include: • Preparing your home for winter by insulating any water lines that run along exterior walls so water supply will be less likely to freeze and having fireplaces or wood stoves inspected for safety, as well as installing a carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. • Preparing your car for colder conditions by having the radiator system serviced, checking tire pressure and having an emergency winter survival kit that includes items such as a blanket, a first aid kit, a windshield scraper, a bag of sand or cat litter to pour on ice or snow for added traction, booster cables, a tool kit, a flashlight, a container of water and snacks. • Eating well-balanced meals that will help you stay warmer. Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, since they cause the body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm sweet beverages or broth to help maintain body temperature. • Dressing warmly. The CDC recommends adults and children wear hats, scarves or knit masks to cover the face and mouth, sleeves that are snug at the wrist, mittens (which are warmer than gloves), water-resistant coats and boots and several layers of loose-fitting clothing. • Avoiding exertion. Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow a doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold. Otherwise, for doing heavy outdoor chores, dress warmly and work slowly. • Being cautious about travel by listening to weather reports or advisories from the National Weather Service, not traveling in low-visibility conditions and avoiding ice-covered roads, overpasses and bridges. The guide also offers valuable information about hypothermia and frostbite. Precautions for pets The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers several cold weather tips for pets on its Web site, www.aspca.org. They include: • During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape. • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure your dog always wears identification tags. • Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice. • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. For short-haired breeds, consider getting them a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. • Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. • For dogs that spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase their supply of food, particularly protein, to keep them — and their fur — in good shape. • Make sure animals have a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect. Published in The Messenger 1.4.10

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