Weather brings host of issues

Published 7:55 am Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Old Man Winter has finally made an appearance in the region, and although it doesn’t appear that he will stay very long, it’s important to keep a few things in mind while he is here.

Be extremely careful while driving, especially during the evening hours. During the day, sunlight melts surface snow and turns it into water. Most of it drains away, but some remains and refreezes at night when temperatures go back below freezing. The ice is hard to see, hence the moniker “black ice.”

Freezing rain and sleet often wreaks havoc on power lines, both from the weight of the ice on the lines, and by the weight of the ice on over-arching tree limbs, which can come crashing down on power lines below. Never walk near or attempt to drive over a downed power line; you could be electrocuted.

Stock up on supplies like water, milk, bread, ready-to-eat meals, toilet paper, batteries, matches and candles, just in case you do lose power.

If you elect to use an ice melt product, be sure to use one that won’t injure pets. Some brands can irritate the paws of dogs and cats.

Never use a kerosene heater indoors. You could asphyxiate yourself.

Take extreme caution when using an electric space heater. Make sure curtains, papers or other combustible materials are kept far away from the heater. Never leave a space heater on unattended.

Never try to warm up a vehicle that won’t start by setting a small fire under the engine (yes, some people have done this).

Never try to keep warm in a vehicle inside a garage. Again, you could asphyxiate yourself.

Finally, use common sense and never use an ATV or a vehicle to pull a sled, inner tube or other contraption down icy streets. If the vehicle doing the pulling makes a sudden stop, the sled will not be able to in time and its occupants could hit the back of the vehicle.