The Georgia snow storm seems to have finally arrived; so, instead of all the doom and gloom, how about a few tips to weather and, perhaps, even enjoy the situation? Currently, in many parts of the US and the world, people are perturbed and unhappy about the strange weather patterns. The icy cold and wet conditions in Atlanta is as disturbing as the warming temperatures at Sochi. Here are a few ideas to ensure safety and peace of mind in the midst of all the chaos.
For those caught unawares the last time, this time round they can ensure the house is equipped for the freeze. A common problem is frozen water pipes that cut off the water supply. This can be easily solved by wrapping foam around the pipes for insulation, or by letting water drip through the faucet at a slow pace. Other safety measures include knowing exactly where the candles and flashlights are and stocking up on extra batteries and wood, if there is a fireplace. Keeping cell phones switched off also helps to conserve their battery, if there is a long power shut down expected.
If there is a lot of ice on the roads, it is best to avoid driving or going outdoors at all. If a drive is unavoidable, keep speeds and turning as slow as possible to avoid skidding; drive only during the daytime and keep the lights on for better visibility; avoid the use of cruise control, as it can get in the way when there is a sudden need to decelerate; keep an emergency kit in the car, including an ice scraper, extra blankets, shoes and socks, food, water, batteries and flashlights and emergency medicines. If there is a need to go walking somewhere during heavy snowfall, wear bright colored clothes, carry a fully charged cell phone and torch, with fresh batteries, and avoid walking near the main roads for safety if cars slide off them.
Inside the home, the best tips to weather the current Georgia snow storm, and maybe even enjoy it, is to have plenty to eat and drink and stay warm and safe. Stock up on dry and canned foods and food that can be frozen. If a power outage is announced, or seems imminent, set the freezer to the coldest temperature for about an hour before the power is scheduled to go off. This will protect the food from thawing out quickly. Also filling up the freezer with food and opening it as infrequently as possible will help to preserve the cold. Eat frequent, small meals and drink plenty of water, but avoid caffeine and alcohol. Bring pets indoors, if possible, and wipe down their legs and stomach. If they have been lying down outside they could have antifreeze chemicals or salt on them, which they are likely to ingest when they lick themselves.
Personal safety should be a high priority. Wear layers of warm clothing and ensure that extremities, including fingers and toes, are dry and well protected to prevent frostbite or frost nip. Going outside to shovel snow can prove lethal, unless done very carefully. Ice and wet snow (as opposed to powdery snow) is a lot heavier than it looks and has been aptly called heart attack snow. There are many reported cases of people having a heart attack while – or immediately after – shoveling snow. Stay safe by going slow and taking frequent breaks; shovel when the buildup is just starting to avoid the bigger piles later and use salt to clear the ice. Get back indoors and warm up as soon as shivering begins.
Here are some facts that illustrate the substantially improved levels of preparedness by the authorities and will augment the tips to help weather and enjoy the Georgia snow storm:
- 100 guardsmen from the Army National Guard have been deployed and more are on standby.
- 125 spreaders and snow plows and 125 four-wheel drives, including Humvees, are being used, in addition to over 700 vehicles from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
- There are 3000 tons of salt and gravel stored for Atlanta alone and 64,150 tons on hand in state stockpiles.
- Although many flights are cancelled for Wednesday and Thursday, there is 100,000 gallons of de-icing fluid and another 100,000 pounds of salt and sand for the runways.
If someone is homeless or requires shelter, the Metro Atlanta Task Force For the Homeless is working around the clock and can be reached at 404-447-3678. In the case of a power failure, contact Georgia Power at 1-888-660-5890
By Grace Stephen