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Failing to prepare for record cold could be dangerous; here is how to prepare

Mount Washington New Hampshire
Posted at 9:07 AM, Feb 03, 2023

Maine Gov. Janet Mills said residents of her state are accustomed to cold weather, but the conditions habitants of her state will see this weekend will be unlike anything they’ve seen in decades.

Most of New England is under wind chill warnings. The National Weather Service has warned the public that wind chills will reach minus 60. Government meteorologists also say winds could reach 50 mph Saturday.

Forecasters say frostbite can begin within five minutes. Hypothermia is also a concern, they say.

Mills is among the officials preparing residents for the extreme cold.

“Take steps to prevent your water pipes from freezing & prepare for power outages. An emergency car kit with blankets, a first aid kit, food and water, a cellphone charger, and a flashlight with extra batteries, is a good idea in case you become stranded,” she wrote on Twitter.

The National Weather Serviceoffers the following advice to prepare for extreme cold:

  • Check the Forecast at weather.gov or your favorite weather app, station, etc.: Make checking the forecast part of your regular routine so you'll know when to expect cold weather.
  • Adjust Your Schedule: If possible, adjust your schedule to avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day, typically the early morning. Try to find a warm spot for your children while waiting for the school bus outside.
  • Protect Your Pets, Livestock and other Property: If you have pets or farm animals, make sure they have plenty of food and water, and are not overly exposed to extreme cold. Take precautions to ensure your water pipes do not freeze. Know the temperature thresholds of your plants and crops.
  • Fill up the tank: Make sure your car or vehicle has at least a half a tank of gas during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded.
  • Dress for the outdoors even if you don't think you'll be out much.
  • Update Your Winter Car Survival Kit: Make sure your car survival kit has the following:

    • Jumper cables: flares or reflective triangle are great extras
    • Flashlights: Replace the batteries before the winter season starts and pack some extras
    • First Aid Kit: Also check your purse of bag for essential medications
    • Baby, special needs gear: If you have a baby or family member with special needs, pack diapers and any special formula or food
    • Food: Stock non-perishable food such as canned food and a can opener, dry cereal and protein rich foods like nuts and energy bars
    • Water: Have at least 1 gallon of water per person a day for at least 3 days
    • Basic toolkit: Pliers, wrench, screwdriver
    • Pet supplies: Food and water
    • Radio: Battery or hand cranked
    • Cat litter or sand: For better tire traction
    • Shovel: To dig out snow
    • Ice scraper: Even if you usually park in a garage, have one in the car.
    • Clothes: Make sure you dress for the weather in warm clothes, gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes for the cold
    • Warmers: Pack extra for body, hands, feet
    • Blankets or sleeping bags: If you get stranded in traffic on a lonely road, you'll be glad to have it.
    • Charged Cell Phone: Keep a spare charger in your car as well

The plumbing industry could also keep busy as pipes can expand and burst during cold weather. Experts recommend leaving a small drip on each faucet to keep water from freezing.

Additionally, those without a warm place to stay are advised to check with local officials as many areas are opening warming centers.