|The danger from
winter weather could mean snow or subfreezing
temperatures, as well as strong winds or even ice or
heavy rain storms. One of the primary concerns is the
winter weather's ability to knock out heat, power and
communications services to your home or office,
sometimes for days at a time. The National Weather
Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive
Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to
the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on
icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to
cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather
before it strikes.
Winter weather can lead to traffic
accidents and other delays on local
roadways. These incidents are reported in real-time on Lake County
- PASSAGE Highway Advisory Radio 1620 AM
- Variable message signs
- LCTV (Comcast cable channel 18 or 30 and AT&T
U-verse channel 99)
Winter Weather Kit
- Get an Emergency Supply Kit which
includes items like non-perishable food, water, a
battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra
flashlights and batteries.
- Thoroughly check and update your
family's Emergency Supply Kit before winter
approaches and add the following supplies in
preparation for winter weather:
- Rock salt to melt ice on
- Sand to improve traction
- Snow shovels and other snow
- Also include adequate
clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
Prepare Your Home
- Make sure your home is well
insulated and that you have weather stripping around
your doors and windowsills to keep the warm air
- Insulate pipes with insulation or
newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a
little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
- Learn how to shut off water
valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand,
and make sure everyone in your house knows how to
use them. House fires pose an additional risk as
more people turn to alternate heating sources
without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Know ahead of time what you
should do to help elderly or disabled friends,
neighbors or employees.
- Hire a contractor to check the
structural stability of the roof to sustain
unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow
- or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
- If you have a car, fill the gas
tank in case you have to leave. In addition, check
or have a mechanic check the following items on your
- Antifreeze levels - ensure
they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system -
should be in top condition and battery terminals
should be clean.
- Brakes - check for wear and
- Exhaust system - check for
leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as
necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually
gives no warning.
- Fuel and air filters -
replace and keep water out of the system by
using additives and maintaining a full tank of
- Heater and defroster - ensure
they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard
lights - check for serviceability.
- Oil - check for level and
weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low
temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
- Thermostat - ensure it works
- Tires - make sure the tires
have adequate tread. All-weather radials are
usually adequate for most winter conditions.
- Windshield wiper equipment -
repair any problems and maintain proper washer
Familiarize yourself with the terms
that are used to identify winter weather
- Freezing Rain creates a
coating of ice on roads and walkways.
- Sleet is rain that turns
to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet
also causes roads to freeze and become slippery.
- Winter Weather Advisory
means cold, ice and snow are expected.
- Winter Storm Watch means
severe weather such as heavy snow or ice is possible
in the next day or two.
- Winter Storm Warning means
severe winter conditions have begun or will begin
- Blizzard Warning means
heavy snow and strong winds will produce a blinding
snow, near zero visibility, deep drifts and
life-threatening wind chill.
- Frost/Freeze Warning means
below freezing temperatures are expected.
Hypothermia can be fatal if not detected promptly and
treated properly. It occurs when the body temperature
drops to 95 degrees or below. A 3.6 degree drop from a
normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees may seem
trivial, but it’s drastic for vital organs. The most
common victims are older persons who have difficulty
keeping themselves or their homes warm in cold weather.
Senior citizens should take caution that they don’t turn
their thermostats down too low to save money. Infants
less than 1 year of age are also at risk because they
lose body heat more easily than adults, and cannot make
enough body heat by shivering. The condition can develop
over a period of time. Even cool indoor temperatures of
60 degrees can eventually trigger hypothermia. Symptoms
include shivering, drowsiness, slurred speech,
hallucinations and slow and shallow breathing. If you
notice these symptoms in a person, take his or her
temperature. If it is 95 degrees or below, call a doctor
or ambulance, or take the victim directly to the
hospital. Those who have inadequate heating at home
should visit malls or other public places to stay warm.
As always, check on neighbors who live alone and never
leave infants or pets alone in cold cars. When outdoors,
be aware of the added effect of wind chill. For example,
20-degree air temperature combined with a 20 miles per
hour wind, has the effect of 10 degrees below zero on
the human body.
When spending long periods of time outdoors during cold
weather, be alert for signs of frostbite. It initially
occurs in the nose, ears, fingers and toes, and can
happen at any temperature below 32 degrees. Frostbitten
skin is whitish, and stiff and feels numb rather than
painful. Children are especially susceptible to
frostbite because they can become so engrossed in their
play that they overlook discomfort. To prevent
frostbite, wear hats that cover the ears, scarves or
masks to cover the face, and several layers of clothing
to trap body heat. Mittens are better than gloves. To
treat frostbitten skin, do not rub the area, since
friction can cause further skin damage. Seek medical
attention immediately. Warm the affected parts of the
body with warm water for 20 to 40 minutes. Wrap the
frostbitten area in blankets, sweaters, etc.