Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter and Cold Weather Precautions - Or Don't You Need Them?

39 consecutive hours of below zero temperatures in the Chicago area! 9 below, 16 below, I'm shivering as I hear the forecast.

Lots of precautions on the news. I thought I'd pass some of them along to you, plus a few of my own, in case you live around here or have a visit planned some time soon.

Bundle up when going outside. Dress in layers. Cover your head so the heat won't escape. Thick gloves or mittens are a must. Tie a scarf around your head so you can breathe through it, instead of breathing in the frigid air. Try to keep as much of your skin protected as possible. Keep your outdoor time to a minimum to prevent frostbite or hypothermia.

Wear boots if you can, since there's plenty of snow and ice that won't go away any time soon. Watch your step, especially near curbs or driveways or bridges, since ice has a habit of forming in those areas even more so than in others. Don't walk very far if you can help it.

Don't try it if you have heart or respiratory problems. Don't put too much on your shovel at one time, or you'll end up with a bad back. Don't step into the street without checking for traffic because cars will have difficulty seeing you around the mounds of snow. Do it in shifts, so you're not outside too long at one time. Stop if you feel dizzy or weak.

Start your car in a well ventilated area every day, even if you're not planning on driving anywhere, so your battery doesn't die when you need it. For a long trip, keep a blanket and a flashlight in the car in case you get stuck somewhere. The main roads will be in better shape than the arteries, but you'll still need to proceed with caution. Make sure you have your cell phone with you to call for help if needs be.

I'm sure there are plenty more precautions I've missed. Okay, now's your chance. Do you have any advice to add? Or, do you live somewhere that is not inflicted with snow and cold? If so, you can gloat. I promise not to delete your post. (G)


  1. Good suggestions there. I'm thankful I can adhere to the "Just stay home and inside" since I am retired/disabled, no longer need to go out in the yucky, cold, snow, ice encrusted weather!

  2. I am so tired of this weather, Im actually planning on moving to Arizona.
    I guess I am lucky enough that I don't have to travel far to work, or even punch the clock for that matter. The winters seems to be getting more severe and longer for some reason.

  3. Anonymous7:46 AM

    Well I can tell you live in a climate like mine! (smile). My advice when it's like it is here in Michigan today - 7 below? STAY INSIDE - BUILD A BIG FIRE IN THE FIREPLACE AND CURL UP WITH A HOT TEA AND A GOOD BOOK! LOL

  4. I don't live in the cold weather you describe. Can't imagine living in it. I like snow enough to visit and play in it, though. But I'm not gloating. In summer, we get the opposite temps here in central Texas.

    I have a sister who lives near Minneapolis who loooooves the cold weather. Swears she will never, ever, move back to TX and sweat.

    No gloating here. But I do shiver just watching the weather reports from up your way.

  5. Brrr! I lived near Chicago before moving to southwest Florida. Now I am wondering how I ever survived the winters there.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  6. Hey, Morgan, be careful-stay bundled on your way to and from work today.

    I have to add-after living in Kansas for years-the cold is as bad as the heat. But I think I actually prefer the cold. Crazy, I know.

  7. North Carolin'a temperature's are to hover around freezing for several days, which is rare for us!

    And I'll add one tip. It should be common sense, but I see it all the time. Do NOT go out jogging in below-freezing weather!! Your mouth and throat will NOT be able to heat the air fast enough for your lungs.
    I'm a runner and I know better than to go out when it's this cold - that's why I have a treadmill!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  8. Well, I live in sunny South Africa. We don't get snow - ever. But I did live in Vienna for a few years. I went from Namibia which was in the middle of a heat wave (+40C in the shade) to Austria - which was in the middle of a blizzard and -25C.
    So...I can sympathise. Good luck!

    Joan De La Haye

  9. WOW! I can't even imagine life like this and soon I'll be living it. It's kind of exciting actually to think I'll be moving to a state that gets this cold! Eeeh! It'll be fun! Meanwhile, i think I'll enjoy my happy cozy England that gets around 40's 50's this time of year!

  10. Anonymous11:38 AM

    I don't drive and it was minus 4 when I left for the post office this morning. MM is correct the trick is to layer your clothing and if you feel too warm, don't take the gloves off. FRostbite is easier to get than you might think. One tip if your electric rates are less than your gas rates is to use two or three electric heaters to prevent the furnace from cycling as often. Leave at least one faucet dripping(slightly) to prevent the pipes from freezing and make certain that you have disconnected any hoses attached outside your home.

  11. Great advice! I might add, if you are traveling include protein bars and bottled water in the car in case you get stuck somewhere.

    My weather grumblings are on my blog.

  12. Anonymous12:34 PM

    I'm sorry Helen Ginger, but your sister is crazy. I'm sure she has a lot of redeeming values, but loving this MN weather is not it. Temps got to -40F here last night. It's what I like to call GOAD weather (Go Outside And Die).

    Some additional recommended supplies for one's emergency car kit:
    Sand or Kitty Litter
    Water (either bottled or in blocks)
    Food (protein bars, canned soup, oatmeal packets)
    Blankets (PLURAL)
    Candles & extra fire-making materials
    Extra clothes (for layering)
    Flashlight & flares or a strobe
    A small camp cooking pot (for melting snow, warming tea or soup)
    Toilet paper and hand sanitizer
    Jumper cables and other tools
    Leather work gloves

  13. Erm...we're having a heat wave in California. It's been crisp, clear and dry. But we get the horrible fires so you won't hear me gloating!

  14. Yes it's deadly. My fingers would feel like ice sitting in my office so i'm in the kitchen now. Brr!

  15. I was raised in the middle of Illinois, so I understand cold temps. My best advice? Buy a St. Bernard and a little keg for him to wear around his neck!

  16. California here. My inlaws live outside of Chicago and I watch the weather in awe. San Diego is a balmy 75 right now (we hit 85 the past two days). If I could send some warmth your way, I certainly would. Not gloating, just wish I could help. Like someone said above, we get fires every year. Those are no fun either. :(

  17. I currently live in Puerto Rico on a sailboat. We don't take her to cold climes because neither my husband nor I like the cold. We lived in Tehachapi, CA for a few years and in Portalnd, OR too. That was enough for us. When we go back to the states, we will most definetly be snow birds.
    follow me on twitter:

  18. Here in Pennsylvania it's been frigid all week. Tonight they are calling for -10 with the wind chill factor. I'll be leaving the water in my bathroom sink dripping tonight to make sure the pipes don't freeze!! This is the coldest weather we've had in a couple years. BRRRR

  19. I'm someone who enjoys living somewhere that people THINK is cold--Colorado. We have lots of sun, though, and it's dry here, so we don't feel the cold as much as in an area that has humid, overcast weather. In Colorado, you can actually get outside and enjoy winter sports! Here, we have to worry about sun exposure and skin cancer even in the winter.

  20. Well, I won't gloat even though I am a Florida girl. I have family and friends in New England and I grew up there so I know what it is like.
    People here are complaining because it is supposed to get into the 40's here tonight! I love it - it is a nice change! And we are not worrying about hurricanes! I guess every area has some kind of weather issue!

  21. We were in Nebraska for Christmas with sub zero temperatures, in Chicago for New Year, where it wasn't quite so cold at that time, and now even here in North Carolina where it's usually not so bad it was 12 this morning. Thanks for all the good tips. I especially like Marvin's about staying by the warm fire with hot tea and a good book! I make good use of heating pads and quilts.

  22. We're warm here in St. Louis at 15 degrees. Sister near Chicago lost 3 tires on their cars due to extreme cold shrinking the air pressure - check your tires!


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