POSTED: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 9:25am
UPDATED: Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 5:16pm
With old man winter knocking on the door, here are some tips to help you stay safe when the temperatures plummet.
First, a reminder of some of those crazy weather phrases you hear this time of year. The main thing to remember is the difference between a severe weather watch versus a warning. The main difference between them is that a watch means atmospheric conditions are favorable for a threat to develop. A warning means the threat is imminent or already occurring. When you hear a watch has been issued, you should stay tuned to your local authorities and "watch" the news to know if you'll need to take action. A warning means you need to proceed with your severe weather emergency procedures.
Freeze Warning: Temps will be at or below 32 degrees.
Hard Freeze: Temps will be at or below 28 degree.
When freezing conditions are present, make sure to take care of your four "P's"!
Pets: Bring pets inside. If you can't keep your pets inside make sure they have adequate shelter and/or blankets to keep warm. Also, keeping warm requires more energy so you may need to feed your pets more. This is true for livestock as well.
Pipes: Exposed pipes are very susceptible to the cold. make sure to wrap and insulate all exposed pipes (insulation, newspaper, and mulch all work). Disconnect hoses from the outside of your house, and allowing your faucet to drip can also prevent freezing in your pipes. If you choose to leave your faucet on, you want your drip stream to be the size of a toothpick.
Plants: Wrap tropical plants with blankets, sheets, newspapers, etc to keep them alive.
People: Make sure you leave 36 inches of clearance in front of space heaters, block drafty doors and windows with blankets. Check on your family, friends, and neighbors when there is a freeze warning to make sure they are adequately prepared as well. Sometimes it only takes a little assistance from a friend to stay safe.