This has been a winter to remember.  I say this with some diplomacy as there are certainly better adjectives I could use, but this is a respectful blog, so I’ll leave it at that.  I will say, however, that I am always amazed at nature’s sheer power and fury.  I watched out the front porch Sunday night as howling, frigid winds rattled the street signs, and blew snow ferociously off roof tops.  At times, snowdevils could be seen, dancing underneath street lights.  It was almost dreamlike until I realized the mucus had frozen in my nose, and my eyes were tearing profusely.

It does not appear we will have any huge breaks in temperatures for the next week, and the threat of snow seems persistent.  Perhaps February may offer a respite.  Only time will tell.  In the meantime, please take the time to check in on elderly family, friends, and neighbors as we’ve been dealing with dangerous temperatures and perilous roads and walkways.

Since we’re mostly hunkered down in the safety and warmth of home, I offer the following tips on keeping safe and warm:

  • Limit exposure.  Period.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Keep hydrated.  Winter can be especially drying, and dehydration is a real danger.
  • Plan accordingly and wisely.  Stock up on necessities before inclement weather hits.  Offer to pick up supplies for an elderly family member or friend.
  • Keep you car properly fueled, especially when temps dip below freezing.
  • Check your vehicle’s fluid levels and tires, and have extra windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze on hand.
  • Keep an emergency bag in your car with jumper cables, blankets, change of clothes, water, food, extra gloves/hats, boots, kitty litter, etc.
  • When leaving your car outdoors for any length of time, try to park with the front of the car facing a wall, island, or berm.  This will help protect your vehicle from cold and wind.  If this is not possible, consider placing a piece of cardboard or old blanket over the front of the car to protect the radiator as much as possible.
  • Keep pets indoors and monitor their outdoor breaks.
  • Keep a list of utility company’s emergency numbers easily accessible, so in case of an outage, you can contact them quickly and efficiently.
  • If using portable heaters in the house, never leave them unattended.  Keep them away from curtains, blankets, and open flames.
  • If you have a faucet on an outside wall in your home, leave a trickle of water on, and open cabinets and vanities, so pipes don’t freeze.
  • Wear proper shoes with good traction, take your time, and pay attention.
  • Tune in to weather forecasts, and listen to your body.

Your safety and health is of utmost importance.  If you don’t have to go anywhere, it’s always best to stay off the roads and stay home.  Use good judgement and common sense.  Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

“A lot of people like snow.  I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”

-Carl Reiner

Best and warm wishes,

Kim Sweeney

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