Cold snaps and heat waves can be as challenging and as deadly as any other natural disaster. You can best weather these times through pre-season preparation and the right know-how.
Preparing for a Winter Storm
· Stock up on food, water, medicines and heating fuel.
· Secure back-up heat sources, such as kerosene heaters. Never use charcoal, gas or propane heaters indoors.
· Buy bags of rock salt and sand for use on icy walkways.
· Weather-strip windows and doors to help seal out the cold.
During and after a Winter Storm
· Conserve heating fuel by shutting off unused rooms.
· Wear several layers of clothing and a hat outdoors. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
· Don't overexert yourself while shoveling snow.
· Watch for signs of frostbite: loss of feeling along with paleness in tip of nose, fingers, toes and ear lobes.
· Beware of hypothermia. Signs include uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness, memory loss and disorientation.
· Avoid driving at night or alone. Notify others of your schedule and route.
If Your Vehicle Is Stranded in a Blizzard
· Pull off the road and turn hazard lights.
· Do not walk unless you can see a building
· If no buildings are in sight, stay in your vehicle, where rescuers are more likely to find you.
· Wrap yourself in blankets, or use seat covers, floor mats and maps.
· Run the engine for 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. Open a window slightly for ventilation.
· Balance use of the heater and lights to conserve the battery.
· If stuck in a remote location, spell out "HELP" or "SOS" with rocks or branches.
Winterize your vehicle
· Check the wipers, battery, heater, defroster, ignition system, lights, oil and tire pressure.
· Consider purchasing snow tires or chains.
· Pack a winter emergency, kit with a window scraper, blankets, battery-powered radio, flashlight, water, snack food, tow chain or rope, shovel and flares.
Winter weather Term to know
Freezing Rain - Rain that freezes on contact with roads, trees, sidewalks, etc.
Sleet - Rain that freezes before hitting the ground.
Winter Storm Watch - A winter storm is possible in the area.
Blizzard Warning - Winds or gusts 35 mph or greater, along with snow, are expected to last 3 hours or more.
Winter Storm Warning - A winter storm is occurring or will begin soon.
Frost/Freeze Warning - Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing.
During a Heat Wave
· Stay indoors in air conditioning as much as possible, and in the shade if you go outside.
· If your home is not air conditioned, spend at least two hours daily at an air-conditioned mall, library or other public place.
· Wear sunscreen outside, along with light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
· Drink water regularly even if you are not thirsty. Limit alcohol, which speeds dehydration.
· Never leave children or pets alone in the car.
· Avoid exertion during the hottest part of the day.
· Take a cool shower or bath.
Summer Weather terms to know
Heat Wave - Period of extreme heat, usually accompanied by high humidity.
Heat Index - The relative humidity added to the air temperature—how hot it feels.
Heat Cramps – Muscle pains due to exertion—the first sign of heat-related problems.
Heat Exhaustion - A mild form of shock brought on by strenuous activity in the heat.
Heat Stroke - A life-threatening condition occurring when the body's temperature control system shuts down. Brain damage or death can result if the body is not cooled at once.