Preparing for Winter Weather

Chances are increasing that Northeast Arkansas may face hazardous road conditions and ice this week . Lawrence County is  under a  winter storm warning, and it is predicted  that snow, sleet and freezing rain may hit us Thursday and Friday.

The National Weather Service reports that rain will switch over to freezing rain in Northwestern Arkansas around daybreak Thursday, then switch over to sleet, snow or a mix of sleet and snow.

Driving conditions may be extremely hazardous or impossible.

So with that in mind, here are a few helpful tips to help prepare for any upcoming winter weather.

*Have a safe alternate heating source and alternate fuels available.

*Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies.

  • Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless, colorless gas.
  • Learn symptoms of CO poisoning: headaches, nausea, and disorientation.
  • Keep grills and generators out of the house and garage. Position generators at least 20 feet from the house.

*Be prepared for weather-related emergencies, including power outages.

  • Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
  • Keep an up-to-date emergency kit, including:
    • battery-operated devices, such as a flashlight, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and lamps;
    • extra batteries;
    • first-aid kit and extra medicine;
    • baby items; and
    • cat litter or sand for icy walkways.

*Prepare your car for winter.

  • Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires
  • Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
  • Keep a winter emergency kit in your car in case you become stranded. Include
    • blankets;
    • food and water;
    • booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);
    • compass and maps;
    • flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
    • first-aid kit; and
    • plastic bags (for sanitation).
  • Learn safety rules to follow in case you become stranded in your car.
    • Stay with your car unless safety is no more than 100 yards away, but continue to move arms and legs.
    • Stay visible by putting bright cloth on the antenna, turning on the inside overhead light (when engine is running), and raising the hood when snow stops falling.
    • Run the engine and heater only 10 minutes every hour.
    • Keep a downwind window open.
    • Make sure the tailpipe is not blocked.

Of course the best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

Above all, be prepared to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults, and the chronically ill. Make sure they have the supplies, medication, etc.. needed.

If you have pets, bring them inside. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate, warm shelter food, and unfrozen water for them to drink.

 

Hopefully we will be spared from another severe ice storm with long power outages. Stay safe!