BBRRRR!!!!!: Artic blast arrives
Published 8:30 pm Monday, January 6, 2014
With much of the nation in a deep freeze, eastern North Carolinians are getting off easy with temperatures only plummeting into the teens last night and wind chills making them dip further.
In Chicago, 16 degrees below zero at 8 a.m. broke an all-time record Monday. Now the southeast is getting its fair share of the cold, with a predicted high today in the mid-20s and a low again tonight hovering around 17 degrees. The weather comes after a high of 66 degrees yesterday.
After Monday’s rain, the concern yesterday was there may be some patches of ice out on the roads today, one of the reasons Beaufort County Schools delayed open by two hours this morning.
“We have our equipment and folks on standby if needed,” said Robby Taylor, NCDOT’s county maintenance engineer. “There should be some spots we’ll have to address in the morning, but that’s what we’re here for.”
First Sergeant Brandon Craft with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol reminded residents that if ice is on the road, drive slowly.
“The thing about ice is if you go to fast, there’s no stopping you and even when you think you’re going slow enough, you’re probably not,” he said.
Craft brought up the closure of the Highway 17 bypass bridge last year when freezing temps hit the area.
“Bridges will definitely ice before the roads will,” he said.
For Beaufort County Emergency Services Coordinator John Pack, it’s important that people stay warm, and stay warm in a safe way. Pack the cold can be dangerous to both people and their pets, and it’s important to be prepared.
With frigid temperatures upon us, Beaufort County Emergency Services has these tips for dealing with the severe cold:
•Check flashlights and battery-powered portable radios to ensure that they are working, and you have extra batteries.
•Have sufficient heating fuel. Heat pump owners are advised to raise the thermostat higher ahead of the arctic blast but do so only 2 degrees at a time to avoid heat strip operation. When outdoor temperatures drop to 35 degrees you can then drop your thermostat setting back to 68 degrees. Make sure your HVAC system filters are clean
•Know how to shut off water valves.
•Review the process for manually operating an electric garage door.
•Dress for the season, wearing several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing, rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
•Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in the extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
•Watch for signs of hypothermia: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms are detected, get to a warm location, remove any wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages. Get medical help as soon as possible.
•If pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold.
•In order to protect against possible voltage irregularities that can occur when power is restored, you should unplug all sensitive electronic equipment, including TVs, stereo, VCR, microwave oven, computer, cordless telephone, answering machine and garage door opener.
•If you lose power, call your utility provider. Unless there is an emergency, do not call 9-1-1. That number should only be used if there is an emergency or if someone is injured or in danger.
•If you have a generator, do not connect it to your home’s power system unless it has been properly installed and disconnects you from the main power grid when it is operating. If you do not disconnect from the power grid, you can be sending electricity back down the lines; not just to your home. That could be deadly for power company workers. Generators must be placed outside. Do not place them in garages, utility rooms or any other enclosed space.
•If you have a regular wood stove or fireplace, you can use it for heat. However, do not use kerosene heaters, BBQs, or any outdoor type heater inside. Such devices create poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas given off by combustion and could kill. When trying to stay warm, it’s a good idea to consolidate your bodies in one room. The heat from your bodies alone will raise the temperature in the room a notch or two. Properly close off those unused rooms.
•Your bed may be the best place to keep warm. If you have sleeping bags rated for cold weather use them in combination with other layering.