Old Man Winter returns

Published 6:57 am Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Don’t like the weather? Well, give it a day, it will change.

On the heels of Monday’s unseasonably warm weather where the high temp reached 64 degrees, local snow lovers will rejoice in today’s (Tuesday) forecast.

While the “white stuff” is not expected to fall in abundance, there is a strong possibility that snow will arrive sometimes later in the day. The National Weather Service office in Wakefield, VA predicts an inch or less for northeastern North Carolina, with higher amounts (2-4”) north and west of the local area. Meanwhile, weather models released Monday afternoon by WAVY-TV 10 suggests the storm has the potential to leave as much as two inches of snow in portions of the R-C area. It appears that the eastern portion of Northampton County, most all of Hertford and Gates counties, and the northern part of Bertie County are in this forecast model. One inch or less is predicted in the remaining local areas.

However, the bigger weather story is that temperatures will plummet after a strong cold front passes through the area Tuesday night.

Tuesday’s official forecast from the NWS calls for the precipitation to begin as rain between 1-3 p.m. as the high temperature is expected to top out in the mid 40’s. However, when the cold front arrives, expect the temperature to take a nose dive, changing the rain over to snow. Tuesday night’s low is forecast at 15 degrees. With a north wind gusting as high as 30 mph, the wind chill will drop into single digits.

Be careful when venturing out Wednesday morning as Tuesday night’s frigid temperatures will quickly freeze any snow slush on local roadways. Drivers are encouraged to leave plenty of room between them and other vehicles on the roadways. Also, try to avoid quick stops. The best advice is to allow your vehicle to slow gradually before coming to a gentle stop at intersections.

Despite sunny skies, it will remain cold Wednesday and Thursday, with highs in the low to mid 30’s and the lows both nights in the teens. By the weekend, the high temperature will rise to more normal levels (mid to upper 40’s).

During the mid-week cold snap, local residents are encouraged to follow these tips:

If you live alone, arrange for a daily check-in call with a friend, neighbor, relative, church members, etc.

Instead of tight clothing, wear several loose, warm layers. Wear a hat and scarf to avoid significant heat loss through your head and neck if you must venture outdoors.

Stay dry. Moisture from perspiration, rain, or melting snow can seriously reduce or destroy the insulating value of clothing.

Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers of clothing hold more body heat than cotton.

Do not ignore shivering. It’s an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors to avoid frost bite and hypothermia.

Those who suffer from COPD, asthma or heart problems should avoid excessive cold air breathing – remain inside as much as possible. When going outside, use face coverings: hat, ear muffs, scarf or mask for face, mouth and nose.

Diabetics should wear socks and shoes at all times. Also pay close attention to the temperature of your feet, check often to ensure they are warm and dry.

Those with breathing and/or lung problems should avoid indoor kerosene heaters as much as possible. When unavoidable, try to place the heaters in a room other than the one you are occupying if safe to do use.

As far as protecting your property, the best advice is to immediately close all air vents in your home’s foundation as well as any other openings. This will help reduce the amount cold air underneath your home.

To help prevent residential pipes from freezing, especially those not insulated or exposed to the elements, drip your indoor faucets, preferably on both ends of your home to allow the water in the pipes to constantly move. It’s also wise to unhook water hoses from outdoor faucets.

And remember, if you’re cold, so are your pets. Hertford County PAWS suggests that you either bring your pets indoors or provide them with a warm, dry place in an area protected from the wind.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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