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Looks like old man winter, is casting his ownership of the weather, and using artic winds, and snow storms to remind us that, this is indeed the winter season.

Wintertime brings with it snowboarding, skiing, snowball fights and sledging.

  • It also brings with it death to elders, babies, both inside and outside the house.
  • Wintertime is far worst then summertime, because in the summer the sun burns and makes you react. You must act, in order for the burning sensation to stop.
  • However extreme cold takes away your will to survive!!!
  • Only 4 degrees separates us from life and death.

 

Cold weather is an adversary that can be dangerous. Every time you venture into the cold, you are pitting yourself against the elements. With a little knowledge of the environment, proper plans, and appropriate equipment, you can overcome the elements. Remember, winter weather is highly variable. Prepare yourself to adapt to blizzard conditions even during sunny and clear weather.

Cold is a far greater threat than it appears. It decreases your ability to think and weakens your will to do anything except to get warm. Cold is an insidious enemy; as it numbs the mind and body, it subdues the will to survive.

The human body is normally at 98.6 degrees at 94 degrees your body freezes and dies. So maintaining warmth in a cold environment is critical. The majority of body heat is lost threw the skull. A winter cap is just as important as your winter jacket.

When winter temperatures drop significantly below normal, staying warm and safe can become a challenge. Extremely cold temperatures often accompany a winter storm, so you may have to cope with power failures and icy roads. Although staying indoors as much as possible can help reduce the risk of car crashes and falls on the ice, you may also face indoor hazards. Many homes will be too cold—either due to a power failure or because the heating system isn't adequate for the weather. When people must use space heaters and fireplaces to stay warm, the risk of household fires increases, as well as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause other serious or life-threatening health problems. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected. To keep yourself and your family safe, you should know how to prevent cold-related health problems and what to do if a cold-weather health emergency arises.

Plan Ahead.

Prepare for extremely cold weather every winter—it’s always a possibility. There are steps you can take in advance for greater wintertime safety in your home and in your car.

 

Winter storms Hazards.

These are weather hazards associated with freezing or frozen precipitation (freezing rain, sleet, snow) or combined effects of winter precipitation and strong winds.

BLOWING SNOW.

Wind-driven snow that reduces visibility. Blowing snow may be falling snow and/or snow on the ground picked up by the wind.

SNOW SQUALLS.

Brief, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds. Accumulation may be significant.

SNOW SHOWERS.

Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation is possible.

SNOW FLURRIES.

Light snow falling for short durations with little or no accumulation.

Storms with Strong Winds.

Sometimes winter storms are accompanied by strong winds creating blizzard conditions with blinding wind-driven snow, severe drifting, and dangerous wind chill. Strong winds with these intense storms and cold fronts can knock down trees, utility poles, and power lines. Storms near the coast can cause coastal flooding and beach erosion as well as sink ships at sea. In the West and Alaska, winds descending off the mountains can gust to 100 mph or more, damaging roofs and other structures.

Extreme Cold dangers.

Extreme cold often accompanies a winter storm or it is left in its wake. Prolonged exposure to the cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia and become life-threatening. Infants and elderly people are most susceptible. What constitutes extreme cold and its effect varies across different areas of the United States. In areas unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered "extreme cold." Freezing temperatures can cause severe damage to citrus fruit crops and other vegetation. Pipes may freeze and burst in homes that are poorly insulated or without heat. In the north, below zero temperatures may be considered as "extreme cold." Long cold spells can cause rivers to freeze, disrupting shipping. Ice jams may form and lead to flooding.

Ice Storms dangers.

Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees, electrical wires, telephone poles and lines, and communication towers. Communications and power can be disrupted for days while utility companies work to repair the extensive damage. Even small accumulations of ice may cause extreme hazards to motorists and pedestrians.

Heavy Snow Storms dangers.

Heavy snow can immobilize a region and paralyze a city, stranding commuters, stopping the flow of supplies, and disrupting emergency and medical services. Accumulations of snow can collapse buildings and knock down trees and power lines. In rural areas, homes and farms may be isolated for days, and unprotected livestock may be lost. In the mountains, heavy snow can lead to avalanches. The cost of snow removal, repairing damages, and loss of business can have large economic impacts on cities and towns.

 

Winter Regions.

The type of winter season that you experience, depends heavily on the region you live. Each winter region in the United States, experiences winter differently. Where below zero is cold in Chicago, below freezing is cold in Florida.

Let take a look at the different region that we live in.

 

From the Mid-Atlantic Coast to New England...The classic storm is called a Nor'easter. A low pressure area off the Carolina coast strengthens and moves north. Wind-driven waves batter the coast from Virginia to Maine, causing flooding and severe beach erosion. The storm taps the Atlantic's moisture-supply and dumps heavy snow over a densely populated region. The snow and wind may combine into blizzard conditions and form deep drifts paralyzing the region. Ice storms are also a problem. Mountains, such as the Appalachians, act as a barrier to cold air trapping it in the valleys and adjacent low elevations. Warm air and moisture moves over the cold, trapped air. Rain falls from the warm layer onto a cold surface below becoming ice.

Along the Gulf Coast and Southeast...This region is generally unaccustomed to snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Once in a while, cold air penetrates south across Texas and Florida, into the Gulf of Mexico. Temperatures fall below freezing killing tender vegetation, such as flowering plants and the citrus fruit crop. Wet snow and ice rapidly accumulate on trees with leaves, causing the branches to snap under the load. Motorists are generally unaccustomed to driving on slick roads and traffic accidents increase. Some buildings are poorly insulated or lack heat altogether. Local municipalities may not have available snow removal equipment or treatments, such as sand or salt, for icy roads.

In the Midwest and Plains...Storms tend to develop over southeast Colorado in the lee of the Rockies. These storms move east or northeast and use both the southward plunge of cold air from Canada and the northward flow of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to produce heavy snow and sometimes blizzard conditions. Other storms affecting the Midwest and Plains intensify in the lee of the Canadian Rockies and move southeast. Arctic air is drawn from the north and moves south across the Plains and Great Lakes. Wind and cold sometimes combine to cause wind chill temperatures as low as 70F below zero. The wind crosses the lakes, tapping its moisture and forming snow squalls and narrow heavy snow bands. This is called "lake-effect snow."

From the Rockies to the West Coast...Strong storms crossing the North Pacific sometimes slam into the coast from California to Washington. The vast Pacific provides an unlimited source of moisture for the storm. If cold enough, snow falls over Washington and Oregon and sometimes even in California. As the moisture rises into the mountains, heavy snow closes the mountain passes and can cause avalanches. The cold air from the north has to filter through mountain canyons into the basins and valleys to the south. If the cold air is deep enough, it can spill over the mountain ridge. As the air funnels through canyons and over ridges, wind speeds can reach 100 mph, damaging roofs and taking down power and telephone lines. Combining these winds with snow results in a blizzard.

In Alaska...Wind-driven waves from intense storms crossing the Bering Sea produce coastal flooding and can drive large chunks of sea ice inland destroying buildings near the shore. High winds, especially across Alaska's Arctic coast, can combine with loose snow to produce a blinding blizzard and wind chill temperatures to 90F below zero! Extreme cold (-40F to -60F) and ice fog may last a week at a time. Heavy snow can impact the interior and is common along the southern coast. With only brief glimpses of the winter sun across the southern horizon, the snow accumulates through the winter months. In the mountains, it builds glaciers, but the heavy snow accumulations can also cause avalanches or collapse roofs of buildings. A quick thaw means certain flooding. Ice jams on rivers can also cause substantial flooding.

Winter Terms.

Being Familiar with terminology used by the Weather Service will help you know what to expect when weather warnings are issued.

 

Freezing Rain. Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees, and power lines. Outside temps are below the freezing mark of 32 degrees. Even small accumulations of ice can cause a significant hazard.

 

Ice Storm. When a substantial Icy glaze layer accumulates. In some regions of the country, Ice storms are called "silver thaws" or "silver frosts".

 

Sleet. Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery. Sleet usually bounces when hitting a surface and does not stick to objects. However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists.

 

Winter storms. - These are weather hazards associated with freezing or frozen precipitation or combined effects of winter precipitation and strong winds.

 

Winter Weather ADVISORY. means winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. If you are cautious, these situations should not be life threatening. Outlooks, watches, warnings, and advisories are issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) and broadcast on NOAA Weather Radio and on local radio and television stations

 

Winter Storm OUTLOOK. means winter storm conditions are possible in the next two to five days. Stay tuned to local media for updates

 

Winter Storm Watch. means winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans (Family Disaster Plan, Shelter in Place Kits) and keep informed about weather conditions.

 

Winter Storm Warning. A Winter Storm WARNING means life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

 

Blizzard Warning. A blizzard warning is issued when there is a chance of Sustained winds or frequent gusts of wind up to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer. This will reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile.  People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

 

Frost/Freeze Warning. Below freezing temperatures are expected.

 

Frostbite. is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of -20° Fahrenheit (F) with light winds will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes.  Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately! 

 

Hypothermia. is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95°F, and it can kill. For those who survive, there is likely to be lasting damage to the kidneys, liver and pancreas. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. .

 

Travelers' advisory means that falling snow and / or drifting snow, strong winds, freezing rain or drizzle will make driving hazardous.

Heavy Snow warnings are issued when 4 or more inches are expected during a 12 hours period, or when 6 inches or more are expected during a 24 hour period.

 

Blowing and Drifting snow, result from strong winds. Blowing, falling snow or loose snow on the ground can produce sizeable drifts.

 

Wind Chill, is not the actual temperature, but rather how wind and cold actually feel on exposed skin. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. Wind Chill is the temperature your body feels when the air temperature is combined with the wind speed. It is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by the effects of wind and cold. As the speed of the wind increases, it can carry heat away from your body much more quickly, causing skin temperature to drop. When there are high winds, serious weather-related health problems are more likely, even when temperatures are only cool. Animals are also affected by wind chill; however, cars, plants and other objects are not.

Wind Chill Temperature.

The wind chill temperature is how cold people and animals feel when they are outside. Wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold. As wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at a faster rate. This drives down the body temperature. Therefore, the wind makes it feel much colder. The wind chill temperature is not the actual temperature but rather how wind and cold feel on exposed skin.

Winter Deaths.

Everyone is potentially at risk during winter storms. The actual threat to you depends on your specific situation. Recent observations indicate the following:

  • Deaths related to ice and snow:
    • About 70% occur in automobiles.
    • About 25% are people caught out in the storm.
    • Deaths related to exposure to the cold:
      • 50% are people over 60 years old.
      • Over 75% are males.
      • About 20% occur in the home.

When winter temperatures drop significantly below normal, staying warm and safe can become a challenge. Extremely cold temperatures often accompany a winter storm, so you may have to cope with power failures and icy roads. Although staying indoors as much as possible can help reduce the risk of car crashes and falls on the ice, you may also face indoor hazards. Many homes will be too cold—either due to a power failure or because the heating system isn’t adequate for the weather. When people must use space heaters and fireplaces to stay warm, the risk of household fires increases, as well as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause other serious or life-threatening health problems. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected. To keep yourself and your family safe, you should know how to prevent cold-related health problems and what to do if a cold-weather health emergency arises.

The emergency procedures outlined here are not a substitute for training in first aid. However, these procedures will help you to know when to seek medical care and what to do until help becomes available.

What Is Extreme Cold.

What constitutes extreme cold and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions relatively unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered “extreme cold.” Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and as wind speed increases, heat can leave your body more rapidly. These weather related conditions may lead to serious health problems. Extreme cold is a dangerous situation that can bring on health emergencies in susceptible people, such as those without shelter or who are stranded, or who live in a home that is poorly insulated or without heat.

 

What damages can severe cold cause?.

What constitutes severe cold varies in different parts of the country. In some northern regions, cold temperatures are not considered severe until they are well below 0° F (−18° C). In most southern regions, near-freezing temperatures (around 32° F, or 0° C) are considered severe cold. Severe cold can cause much harm; for example, it can damage crops and other vegetation and freeze pipes causing them to burst. Unusually cold temperatures are especially dangerous in areas not accustomed to them because residents are generally unprepared and may not realize the dangers severe cold present.

Almost the entire United States except Hawaii and the territories are at some risk from winter storms. The level of risk depends on the severity of local winter weather.

Home Winterization Checklist.

  • Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
  • Insulate any water lines that run along outer walls, with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing. (water will be less likely to freeze).
  • Service snow-removal equipment.
  • Have chimney and flue inspected.
  • Install easy-to-read outdoor thermometer.
  • Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
  • Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
  • Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment.
  • Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
  • 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.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
  • Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
  • Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow - or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
  • Resupply your First Aid Kit
  • Check all home Fire Extinguishers
  • Water stored in clean containers, or purchased bottled water (5 gallons per person) in case your water pipes freeze and rupture.
  • If your area is prone to long periods of cold temperatures, or if your home is isolated, stock additional amounts of food, water, and medicine.
  • Make sure you have sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. During the storm, fuel deliver will not be able to get to you.
  • Have safe emergency heating equipment available.
    • Fireplace with ample supply of wood
    • Small, well-vented, wood, coal, or camp stove with fuel
    • Portable space heaters or kerosene heaters
  • Install and check smoke detectors / carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Check alternate cooking equipment


 Disaster supplies kit additions

  • Rock salt to melt ice on walkways but can damage vegetation and concrete.
  • Sand or to improve traction
  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
  • Keep food supplies up to a 30-day level. Food that doesn't require heating or refrigeration, such as canned meats, soups and stews, cereal, and energy bars
  • Remember baby food, formula and diapers if you have young children.
  • A warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, and water-resistant boots for each member of the family.
  • Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils
  • 1 gallon of water per person per day (allow enough for 30 days)
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Solar / hand crank NOAA am/fm radio
  • Solar powered clock.
  • Cellular phone
  • 21 to 30-day supply of prescription medicines
  • Blanket and cold-weather clothing for each family member
  • Pet food and additional water for household pets
  • Extra blankets and extra warm clothing.
  • Non-clumping kitty litter. Kitty litter will generate temporary traction.
  • Install snow fences in rural areas to reduce drifting in roads and paths, which could block access to homes, barns, and animals’ feed and water.
  • Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
  • Matches
  • flashlight or battery-powered lantern.
  • battery-powered clock or watch
  • non-electric can opener