Bundle up! Cold temps have arrived

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lincoln County residents need to brace for some of the coldesttemperatures in quite some time, Mississippi Emergency ManagementAgency officials said Tuesday.

“I don’t remember how low it’s gotten, but if it comes in likethey’re thinking it will, this will be the coldest weather thatwe’ve had in several years,” said Lincoln County EmergencyManagement Director Clifford Galey. “Part of that is because itwon’t warm up a lot like it usually does during the day on Thursdayand Friday.”

In Brookhaven, Tuesday’s low temperature was 23 degrees. MEMAofficials said Tuesday that the National Weather Service ispredicting portions of the state could remain below freezing fromThursday morning through Saturday afternoon.

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Galey said the weather should be even colder than weather thatcaused snow across the state in mid-December, and that people needto be sure to take cold weather precautions and check on neighborsand friends.

“As far as I know it should be cold through Friday to Saturday,in the lower 20s or upper teens, especially Thursday into Fridaymorning,” he said. “You need to be sure to check on our neighborsthat may be elderly or sick, tend to your pets and bring theminside, and take other safety precautions for the ones youlove.”

In addition, Galey said, there are things to be done around thehousehold to protect against damage from the winter weather.

“Make sure water pipes are protected, and if you haven’t hadyour car checked and winterized, make sure you’ve got anti-freezein them and such,” he said. “Also, I know when it’s colder, peopleput more wood on the fire or whatever for heat, and they need to beextra cautious.”

MEMA also offered several tips for staying safe during thefreezing temperatures.

* Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warmclothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing.

* Wear mittens; they are warmer than gloves.

* Wear a hat; body heat is lost through your head.

* Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly ordisabled friends, neighbors or employees.

* Bring pets inside.

* Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollableshivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurredspeech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.

And to protect your home:

* Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply byinsulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doorsand windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows withplastic.

* Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone inyour house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additionalrisk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources withouttaking the necessary safety precautions.

* Protect pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic andallow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoidfreezing.

* Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipebursts).

* If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers ofnewspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets andpour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were mostexposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely topenetrate).