Make Sure You’re Prepared For Cold Weather!

Frosty windshield

A hit of arctic air served as reality check for the Tennessee Valley this weekend! The coldest air we’ve seen yet in 2019 arrived Sunday, so it’s time to check up on your winter readiness. Make sure your home, your car, your pets, and your loved ones are ready with the tips listed below.

For Your Home: If a hard freeze is expected, you’ll need to let your faucet drip to prevent pipes from freezing. It depends on how exposed pipes are how vulnerable they will be to freezing; most pipes are insulated well enough to be safe down to 20°F, but poorly insulated pipes could freeze above this. You can also open the cabinets where pipes are found to allow warm air to circulate around them.

Before blasting the heat make sure your heating system is cleaned and safe. Fireplaces, chimneys, and heating vents should be cleaned out to make sure there’s no flammable debris left behind.

For Furry friends: Make sure pets have a safe and warm place to go. They need to stay hydrated and you should keep an eye on any small pets for signs that they need to be warmed up, such as shivering.

For animals that can’t be brought in easily, like livestock, just make sure they have a covered shelter and can find protection from the wind.

Before You Go: Brace yourself not only for the temperature, but for the wind chill too. The wind can make it feel significantly colder than what the thermometer shows. This is because the wind whisks away the heat your body tries to produce to keep you warm.

If you need be outside be sure to dress in layers and cover as much skin as possible with gloves, scarves, and hats.

On The Go: Allow your car to warm up as starting it in the cold is harder on the battery. You also want to keep your gas tank at least half full so that you can stay warm if you become stranded (this can also prevent condensation from freezing in the gas tank, which makes it more difficult for your car to start).

It’s also a good idea to pack a winter safety kit for your car. This should include some nonperishable snacks, water, and a blanket.

All The Time: Make sure you stay updated on the latest forecast! We’ll post regular updates on our discussion page. Live Alert 19 will also alert you anytime a cold weather advisory, watch, or warning is issued.

Know Your Advisories, Watches, and Warnings: The number of advisories, watches, and warnings relating to winter weather can be overwhelming, so go ahead an familiarize yourself with them now.

Courtesy: NWS – Huntsville

Advisories:

  • Winter Weather Advisory – 1″ to 2″ of sleet/snow, ice accumulations up to 1/4″ or travel impacts expected in the next 12 to 24 hours.
  • Wind Chill Advisory – Wind chill readings between -10°F and 0°F expected
  • Frost Advisory – Temperatures between 33°F and 36°F expected.

Watches:

  • Winter Storm Watch – At least a 50% chance of 2+ inches of sleet/snow accumulations OR ice accumulations of 1/4 inches expected in the next 12 to 24 hours.

Warnings:

  • Winter Storm Warning – Greater than 2″ of sleet/snow in 12 hours OR greater than 4″ of snow in 24 hours OR blizzard conditions are expected
    • Blizzard Conditions – At least 2 inches of snow AND sustained winds of 35 mph or greater for 3 or more hours.
  • Ice Storm Warning – Ice accumulations of 1/4″ or greater
  • Wind Chill Warning – Wind chill readings at or below -10°F
  • Freeze Warning – Temperatures at or below 32°F for 3 or more consecutive hours (during a season in which this is not typical, such as fall or spring)