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January 6, 2014

Ice Ice Maybe?

More snow, ice, below-zero wind chills forecast into first of week

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

Thursday and early Friday’s one-two-three punch of snow, ice and bitter cold was a wake-up call for Tri-County residents and motorists.

But while today’s warmer temperatures will help melt much of the ice and snow that’s left, don’t let your guard down — another Arctic blast is knockin’ at our door Sunday.

During Friday morning, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet crews were out plowing and salting state roads throughout District 11, which includes Whitley, Knox and Laurel counties.

By early afternoon, while the crews were spot treating trouble spots on mainly “B” and “C” secondary routes, they were also preparing for the next round of winter weather.

Also Friday, the National Weather Service in Jackson said the potential for freezing rain and snow could come our way Sunday morning. That changes over to rain during Sunday afternoon, but back to snow Sunday night into Monday morning.

After that, extremely cold Arctic air moves in Tuesday. Temperatures will drop to near zero or below zero, with wind chill temperatures falling to between -10 and -20 degrees.

It’ll be the coldest we’ve seen in quite awhile.

It’s a good time for a refresher course in winter driving, as well as what to wear, and to be prepared, during what can be a dangerous time outdoors.

First, make sure your vehicle is winterized sufficiently. Be sure to check the battery, antifreeze level, the heater and defroster, as well as the wipers and windshield washer fluid.

By all means, dress warmly for the extremely cold weather. Put on layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, to anticipate any unexpected winter weather emergencies.

If possible, try to keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full, to prevent fuel line freezing, as well as to prepare for any possible lengthy delays on the road.

Make sure your vehicle has an emergency care kit. It should include jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, an ice scraper, blankets, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, and traction material such as sand or cat litter.

Should you have to go out on the roads, make sure a friend or relative is aware of your travel route. Be sure to carry a cell phone.

If you’re driving, give a wide berth to snow removal equipment.

And, make sure to check the forecast and call 511 in Kentucky before you leave. Should weather conditions get dangerous, or if they are dangerous before going, avoid travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.

With the extreme cold and wind chills below zero forecast, the Weather Service reminds people that going outside for an extended period of time will be dangerous. The conditions may also result in widespread frozen pipes in homes and especially in mobile homes that are not properly winterized.

If you have to be outside, dress for the winter season.

By wearing loose, lightweight, warm clothes in layers, the trapped air insulates your body. Outer garments like coats should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded.

It’s important to wear a hat. The Weather Service and the American Red Cross say that half your body’s loss of heat can be from your head. Also cover your mouth to protect your lungs from the extreme cold.

Keep your hands and fingers covered with gloves or mittens. And try to stay dry.

At home, the main concerns during extreme winter weather are loss of heat, power and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day.

The Red Cross and the Weather Service recommend you have available a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive information, extra food and water, extra medicine and baby items, and first-aid supplies.

If you have an emergency heat source, like a fireplace, wood stove or space heater, make sure to use it properly to prevent a fire, and that the heat source is properly ventilated.

And, have a fire extinguisher and smoke alarms ready. Be sure to test the smoke alarms to assure they properly work. It’s recommended smoke alarms be tested once a month.

In addition, if you have pets, make sure they have plenty of food, water and shelter available.

Here’s some key links on winter weather and driving online:

—Kentucky Transportation Cabinet: www.transportation.ky.gov

—National Weather Service, Jackson: www.crh.noaa.gov/jkl

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