Winter Weather
12:32 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Area Warming Shelters Open, Tips for Combating the Arctic Cold

UPDATED: Mid-Day, Monday 

Over the week, temperatures in our region are expected to drop into the single digits, and possibly even lower. Listed below are resources available in our listening area to help combat against the harsh cold. Included are a list of local warming shelters, road condition links, tips for keeping pets warm as well as a survival kit checklist. 

Warming Shelters (updated Monday at 12:30pm) 

  • In Murray, St. John’s Episcopal Church is open from 6pm to 8am every night providing dinner, bed and a shower. 
  • In Marshall County, the Benton Community Building is open now until Tuesday night but may open longer if necessary. 
  • In Paducah, the Washington Street Baptist Church is open from 6pm to 8am every night for the month of January. 
  • Also in McCracken County, the Reidland Baptist Church will be open 9am to 4pm and the McCracken County Rescue Building open from 6am to 6pm. 
  • In Livingston County, Ledbetter United Methodist Church is open now until Friday. 

The Salvation Army and Red Cross chapters will also be coordinating aid and supplies to local shelters. 

Avoiding Frostbite and Hypothermia

Prolonged exposure to the elements may pose a chance of hypothermia and frostbite.  Frostbite appears commonly in the nose, cheeks, ears, fingers and toes and can occur on exposed flesh in as little as 10 to 15 minutes.  Protect frostbitten areas from further trauma by quickly immersing them in warm, not hot, water.  To avoid hypothermia, dress warm and avoid excessive physical exertion, smoking and drinking alcohol, which lessen the body’s ability to cope with cold.  

More tips for protecting yourself from the elements can be found here 

Freezing Pipes

When water freezes, it expands. When it freezes in a pipe, the pipe stands a chance of bursting, which can cause serious damage. To avoid the problem: 

  • Letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can helps prevent a freezing pipe. The steady stream won't prevent a freezing, but it can help.
  • If leaving the home, be sure not to set the heat too low, this could cause temperatures in the walls to drop low enough to freeze pipes. Upwards of 65 degrees is recommended. 

More tips for freezing pipes are available here

Vehicle Winterizing 

Low temperatures and icy precipitation can wreck havoc on a car's electrical system if not winterized properly. Drivers should also be aware of road conditions and keep safety items in the cars at all times.

  • Test the battery. Flash the headlights when the engine is off, if the lights are brighter when the engine is on, the battery may be compromised and further tests are required. 
  • Check the coolant levels. If the coolant and antifreeze isn't mixed correctly (50/50 solution is typical) the mixture could freeze and damage the radiator or engine. 
  • Maximize vision while driving. Be sure to clear ice and snow off of the windows before driving and check that windshield wipers are working correctly. 
  • Equip your vehicle with an ice scraper, a well-stocked first aid kit, and jumper cables. Also be sure to pack a warm coat and blankets should your vehicle become stranded.

More tips for vehicle winterizing can be found here

Pets

The Humane Society is giving some helpful advice to pet owners for keeping animals safe and comfortable through the harsh temperatures. 

  • Bring pets inside during cold weather. Most dogs, and all cats, are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. No matter what the temperature, wind chill can threaten a pet's life.
  • If for some reason your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. 
  • Make sure your pet has plenty of non-frozen drinking water. 
  • Cats have been known to crawl up inside of cars when the weather gets cold. To avoid injury, bang on the car's hood to scare away any animals and check under the hood before starting the engine. 
  • Don't use salt or antifreeze on pets' shelters. These can irritate the animals paws or cause poisoning. 
  • Keep pets with you. Harsh temperatures can also be emotionally disturbing to some animals. 

More advice for pets' winter weather safety is located on the Humane Society's website

Power

With most winter weather storms, there exists a chance of downed electrical lines. Power companies in our listening area have designated hotlines and web resources for customers to report outages or seek information on effected power services. Advisories may also be posted on Twitter. 

Roads and Driving

Severe winter weather can also produce hazardous driving conditions on county backroads and major roadways. Listed are resources for road conditions in the Tri-State area. Road conditions and advisories may be posted on Twitter. 

Links to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

Links to the Illinois Department of Transportation

Links to the Tennessee Department of Transportation

Link to Red Cross Survival Kit Checklist http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit