Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bitter cold, clear skies and how to survive sub zero temperatures

Good morning Augusta.

This morning it is clear, then partly cloudy. High of 18F with a windchill as low as -2F. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph.

Tonight it will be mostly cloudy with a chance of snow after midnight. Low of -2F with a windchill as low as -15F. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 30%.

The readings from my own instruments are:

The humidity is 77% with a Dew Point of -4ºF and a wind chill of -1.1ºF.

The temperature Is  -1.1ºF.

The Wind is North between 0.0 MPH and 0.0 MPH.

Our Barometric pressure is 30.55  HPA 1024 and rising with a weather graphic indicating sun.   

We have a UV rating of 0 out of 16, sunset will be at 4:10 PM with Moon Rise at 6:59 a.m. EST and the moon phase is a Waning crescent.

For the pilots out there, Raw Metar readings are:

METAR KAUG 011153Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR M18/M21 A3021 RMK AO2 SLP241 I6000 T11831211 11161 21206 53021

Visibility is 10.0 miles/16.1 Kilometers with a good clear ceiling.

We received no snow overnight,.

Surviving sub zero winter temps, from a reporter in North Dakota.

As North Dakotans hunker down for what is likely to be a very cold winter, there are important ways to protect yourself and survive sub-zero wind chill temperatures.

Sub-zero Wind Chill Winter Weather Survival: Stay home

When the actual air temperature is below zero and the force of the wind knocks the temps down several more degrees, it's important to just stay home. Even natives of this kind of winter weather, who are usually spouting the typical 'oh this is nothing' attitude will tell you that you're insane to venture out when the wind chill factor pushes winter temperatures to -20 degrees or colder.

Sub-zero Wind Chill Winter Weather Survival: Stock up on household items and medications

If you know you're headed for a below-zero winter cold spell, make a trip to the grocery store. Be sure to stock up on everything: meats, bread, milk, pasta, etc. Don't neglect other essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels, feminine products, shampoo, bandaids, and other necessary items.

If you have a prescription that needs filling, get to the pharmacy before the winter cold snap. You do not want to have to go without those important medications because your vehicle wouldn't start in -30 degree temperatures.

Sub-zero Wind Chill Winter Weather Survival: Fill up on fuel oil or propane

If you have a furnace that depends on fuel oil or propane, make sure your tanks are full. One never knows just how long a sub-zero cold spell can last, so don't be caught with near-empty tanks.

You may decide to supplement your furnace heat with electric space heaters. Please be careful when using space heaters in your home. Make sure your electrical outlets are grounded and can handle running the space heater. Also be sure you aren't running your space heater near blankets, clothing or curtains.

Sub-zero Wind Chill Winter Weather Survival: Bundle up

When inside your home, dress in layers. By dressing warmly inside, you won't have to turn the furnace up so high to stay warm.

If you have to venture outside, it is very important to bundle up. Frostbite, the condition in which skin freezes, can occur in a matter of seconds in extremely cold winter weather. Wear loose layers, as you don't want to cut off circulation, and make sure every bit of your skin is covered. Use a ski mask to cover your face, then pull a scarf up over your nose and mouth to protect your lungs from the freezing cold winter air.

Do not go outside unless you absolutely have to, and then don't stay outside very long. Sub-zero temperatures can be deadly.

Sub-zero Wind Chill Winter Weather Survival: Prepare your vehicle

If you have to leave your house for work, make sure your vehicle is prepared for freezing winter temperatures. Plug in your block heater the night before so your car will start in the morning.

If you don't have a block heater, park your vehicle indoors or out of the wind. If you can park between two vehicles, this may help shield your car from winter winds. Filling your tank with gasoline that has a 10% ethanol mix added to it will help your vehicle start. Using a product such as Iso-HEET in gas tank will also help your vehicle start in the sub-zero winter temperatures.

 

Make sure your vehicle has a chance to warm up before attempting to drive. Start it at least 15 minutes before you plan to leave.

Sub-zero Wind Chill Winter Weather Survival: Travel safely

If you throw caution to the wind (literally) and decide to drive long distances, make sure someone knows your travel route. It's not enough to call someone before you leave and when you arrive. They need to know the route you are planning on taking and any scheduled stops in case you don't make it to your destination and you are unable to call.

Travel with a winter survival kit. Important items to include are blankets, a flag to tie to your car's antenna, water, candles and matches, high-protein snacks, and a shovel.

Always wear your coat when driving in sub-zero winter temperatures. If you have an accident and you are pinned in your seat, your coat isn't going to do much good if it's in the back seat where you can't reach it.

Although cell phones are great in an emergency, don't rely solely on them for your sub-zero winter weather survival. Prepare ahead of time, don't travel unless necessary, and make sure people know where you are at all times.

 

*Published by Heather K. Adams

Heather K. Adams is an award-winning journalist with the North Dakota Newspaper Association.

 

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