I’ve lived here in the mid west all my life so this weather isn’t anything new, although -25 to -30 below actual temperatures is pretty extreme. I remember going out to dinner on a night back in the 80’s when it was -26 and the wind chills were -60 to -70 below. We used to say hey we’re not a bunch a wimps from So. Cal. we’re tough and we aren’t afraid to go out in this weather. Well maybe I’m just getting more conservative as I grow older or maybe just a little smarter. 40 years ago I was much more bullet proof than I am now, so I say don’t go out into weather like this unless you have to. I know ya gotta go to work, but be smart! Frostbite can hit you in 5 minutes. Here are some suggestions to help you cope with the up coming weather:
If you must go out, bundle up. Frostbite can start in just 5 minutes Dr. Ernest Wang, an emergency room doctor at North Shore University Health System in Evanston, said the most obvious danger of cold exposure is frostbite, in which body fluids freeze, crystalize and expand, causing tissue damage. The hallmarks of oncoming frostbite are tingling, throbbing and numbness in one’s fingers, ears, toes and nose, he said. “Once you start to feel that, it’s time to get to a warm environment away from the cold. He noted that subzero temperatures combined with a stiff breeze can cause frostbite to begin within 30 minutes. According to a chart posted by the National Weather Service, severe cold and blustery wind say, 15 degrees below zero and a 45 mph wind mean frostbite can start in only 5 minutes. For people who must go outside in such weather, Wang recommended dressing in layers, covering as much skin as possible and avoiding alcohol. You can call and get help if you see a person who needs shelter Doug Schenkelberg, executive director for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, said people should call 311 if they’re concerned about an apparently homeless person struggling with the cold. The 311 operator can give directions to the nearest warming center, or dispatch a social service worker to do a wellness check, he said. The city has insufficient bed space for the more than 5,000 residents who are living outside or in shelters, he said. Another 75,000 people do not have secure housing, meaning they are in danger of being put on the street. You have to take steps to protect your home from temperatures this low. You should check their furnace filters and replace them if they are clogged, since poor filtration can cause furnaces to shut down. Likewise, locking windows to cut down on drafts and moving furniture away from vents can immediately improve the temperature. “Without that free airflow, you’re trapping heat that the furnace is working to pump out,” You’d be amazed at how much comfort there is in your home just by moving the couch forward.” He also recommended allowing faucets to trickle if their plumbing runs along outdoor walls; that will help to prevent freezing. If pipes do freeze, he said, it’s best to warm them gradually with a hair dryer or a space heater. Finally, space heaters are a more efficient way to warm a cold room than cranking up the heat for the entire house. But homeowners should never plug space heaters into extension cords, keep them close to combustible materials or allow them to run unattended. It’s important to protect your car, too Your car doesn’t like the cold any more than you do. But there are some precautions you can take to increase the odds of your vehicle functioning in extreme cold. Fill your fluids Spend a buck and get a “winter blend” type of windshield wiper fluid. Winter blends have a greater concentration of alcohol and less water, so less likely to freeze. Fill your antifreeze. If it hasn’t been flushed in a few years, then it could use it. Green-colored antifreeze is the most common; whichever color you choose, don’t mix colors. Coolant and antifreeze are interchangeable terms. Coolant is typically sold premixed, that is it is half water, half antifreeze, as it needs to be. Antifreeze can be pure and needs to be mixed. Check the bottle; it’ll tell you. Check your oil. If it’s due for a change, consider refilling it with a lower viscosity oil. On the bottle it lists two numbers, or grades, the first for low temperature viscosity, the second for high temperature. 10W-30 is a common designation. The higher the number, the more viscous, or thick it is, the less fluid it is especially in cold temps. So you might want to consider 5W-20 or-30. That ‘W’ stands for winter, according to Valvoline and other sources. Wipers Visibility is key in all forms of driving, but winter conditions can limit visibility, and not just because of your faux-fur hood. If your blades have done just a mediocre job with the snow, it’s only going to get worse with the freeze. Winter wipers do a better job of swatting away moisture and can be had for under $20 for the pair. Tire pressure Having the correct tire pressure is essential for proper handling. A temperature change of just 10 degrees can cause a ten percent reduction, or constriction, of air in tires. So tire pressure can be affected from day to night temperature. Check the optimal tire pressure of your vehicle on the label inside the driver’s door frame or in the owner’s manual. DO NOT USE THE PSI on the TIRE! That’s max capacity for the tire, not for your car’s specific load.