The transition of the autumn season can bring major swings in temperatures and the conclusion of the growing season. Although the comfort of cool mornings and mild afternoons can be a treat for some; many should think about the dangers the winter season could bring.
Our local National Weather Service office (NWS), located in Paducah, KY, considers the week of November 8-14 as Winter Weather Awareness Week for Indiana. The start of winter may be over a month away but Storm Team 44 along with the NWS wants to keep Tri-Staters informed and prepared for any weather-related risks that might occur through the cooler months.
One of the most reoccurring and widespread weather phenomena our region experiences through the winter season is wind chill. Wind chill occurs when strong winds interact with frigid air temperatures. This effect can rapidly speed up heat lost in the body. If skin is exposed long enough frostbite and even hypothermia can happen. For example, if the air temperature is 5° and wind is blowing 30 MPH a windchill (feel-like temperature) as low as -19° is possible. If the skin is exposed to these type of conditions frostbite can form as quickly as 10 minutes. The proper preventative measure is to wear layers and keep extremities like fingers and ears protected.
Another winter weather hazard many could encounter is the loss of power in the mist of extreme cold. When there is the threat of snow or ice in the forecast many Tri-Staters are known for the rushing the milk and bread aisle. Although it may be excessive or even annoying at times, some may look over the proper essentials to cope with power outages that may last days at a time. Stocking up non-perishable food is great but here are other things you should also keep in supply:
- Extra Batteries
- Full-tank of gas
- Food for pets
Lastly, driving on slick roads could be dangerous and even life-threatening. The best response to combat traversing on icy roads is to get to your destination before the frozen precipitation begins to accumulate. However, if you do find yourself out in the conditions the best alternative tips are to firstly wear your seat belt and reduce your speed. In the event that you do hit a slick spot tap on the brakes and turn the steering wheel in the direction into the rear of the car to regain control.