Tuesday, January 31, 2023
I'm posting this now so that there is a reasonable timeframe to make preparations for what the National Weather Service is calling a 'dangerously cold" arctic blast. This cold blast will hit the eastern seaboard Friday and Saturday. The Weather Service says that we haven't had this kind of cold in many years and describes it as "off the charts cold climatologically". Meteorologists predict wind chills of -20 F to -40 F overnight thanks to very strong winds. So, please take steps to keep you and your family safe.
- Minimize outside activities, particularly for the elderly and very young. Consider your pets too.
- Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water-repellent. Wear a hat, gloves and sturdy waterproof boots, to protect your extremities. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Gaurd against frostbite - Excessive exposure can lead to frostbite, which is damaging to body tissue that is frozen. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
- Hypothermia can occur in extreme cases. The warning signs are: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
- To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Allow a trickle of warm water to run from a faucet that is farthest from your water meter or one that has frozen in the past. This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze. Learn how to shut off your water if a pipe bursts. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity. Remember that unvented kerosene heaters are illegal in Massachusetts.
- Call Mass211 or check with your local Emergency Management Office to find the locations of any Warming Centers that may be open in your community.