Eddy County Emergency Management

EXTREME COLD

MOST PEOPLE PERISH FROM TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS ON ICY ROADS, HYPOTHERMIA FROM PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO COLD AND FROM FIRES AND CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING WHEN TRYING TO HEAT THEIR HOMES, DURING EXTREME COLD AND WINTER STORMS.

It is important to be prepared for extreme weather before it strikes.

  • Get your Go Bag or Emergency Supply Kit.
  • You may want to include these items for winter weather: rock salt to melt ice, sand to improve traction, snow shovel, extra clothing, jackets and blankets.
  • Be sure your house is prepared for cold weather well in advance of a severe winter storm or prolonged cold.  Make sure you have weather stripping around doors and windows; insulate pipes and have a contractor check your roof to make sure it is structurally stable enough to handle the weight of an accumulation of snow or water.
  • Know how to turn off the water valve in case a pipe breaks.

Your car needs preparation, too.  Check or have a mechanic check these items: 

  • Antifreeze levels.
  • Battery and ignition system.
  • Exhaust system - check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair if you find any.  Carbon monoxide is deadly.  It could fill the vehicle and you might never know it. 
  • Heater and defroster.
  • Tires - their tread and proper inflation
  • Lights and hazard lights
  • Don't forget to place a Go Bag/Emergency Supply Kit in your car

WHAT TO DO IF A WINTER STORM WARNING IS ISSUED

  • Try to keep everyone indoors. If you have to go outside, dress in several layers of clothing, which will keep you warmer and layers can be taken off one at a time if you get too hot.  Wear gloves/mittens, a hat and scarf to cover your mouth to protect your lungs.
  • Walk extremely carefully on ice and snow covered walkways.
  • Bring pets indoors
  • If you must use kerosene heaters, keep the room well ventilated as kerosene heaters emit toxic fumes (any combustion/burning emits toxic fumes and it is important to not allow the fumes to build up).  Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep heaters at least 3 feet from any objects.
  • Check on the elderly and disabled.
  • It is best not to travel in a car during a storm, but if you have to:
    1. Have a Go Bag/Emergency Kit in your car or trunk.
    2. Keep your gas tank full for an emergency (this will also keep the gas line from freezing).
    3. Tell someone where you are going, the route you are taken and when you expect to arrive
    4. Eat and drink regularly, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.

KNOW THESE WINTER WEATHER TERMS

  • Freezing Rain: rain that falls to the ground as a liquid, but freezes into a glaze on the ground or other surfaces.
  • Sleet:  rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground.  Sleet can also cause roads to freeze and become slippery.
  • Winter Weather Advisory:  means cold and ice or 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 (heavy ice or snow) have begun or will begin very soon.
  • 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.