DARKE COUNTY – After the breath of warm air that Darke County experienced over the weekend, it’s time to return to the reality of winter in Ohio; according to AccuWeather.com, a cold snap is expected to take over at the beginning of next week.
During the next few days it’s expected that a flow of mild-temperature Pacific air will move through the U.S. followed by a spread of cold air next week, said AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sonowski. Another, more extensive time of cold may follow the week after next, he said. Though the arctic air mass will be moving too quickly to deliver below-zero daytime highs, it will still come as a shock after the milder temperatures the country has been experiencing, Sonowski continued.
The shifts in weather are due to warming at the North Pole, which causes weather systems to shift around in the lower part of the atmosphere and drive frigid air further south, Sonowski explained.
“The effect of the stratospheric warming and compensating much colder air near the surface is still evolving and will not reach its peak until late this month and on into February,” said Sonowski.
With cold and snow expected over the next week, the American Red Cross urges residents to be prepared. Homeowners may turn to alternative heat sources, including generators, which could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or fires, the Red Cross asserted, so homeowners should be extra careful.
Residents should avoid using a stove or oven to keep their homes warm, and should also keep a glass or metal screen around fireplaces, said the Red Cross. If families are using a space heater, they should be sure to place it on a level, non-flammable surface, they said, and be sure to turn the heater off when leaving the room or going to sleep. Keeping children and pets away from heat sources is also a smart move, the Red Cross urged.
When using a generator, never operate it inside the home, they said, including in the basement or garage.
“The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment needed directly to the outlets on the generator,” the Red Cross commented.
Other concerns with cold weather include frozen pipes, which can be prevented by opening cabinet doors to let warm air circulate, and letting cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes, the American Red Cross stated.
The American Red Cross reminds residents to bring pets indoors, if possible, or to provide adequate shelter and access to unfrozen water, if bringing pets inside isn’t an option.
If people plan to go out in the cold, they should take precautions, including dressing in several layers of lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of a heavy coat, they said. Mittens provide more warmth than gloves, and a hat that covers the ears will also help, said the Red Cross. Waterproof, insulated boots will keep feet warm and dry, and help to maintain footing if it gets icy, they continued.
Those traveling in cold weather should also go through some steps to prepare their vehicles and themselves for travel, said the Red Cross. Always carry an emergency preparedness kit in the trunk, and keep the gas tank full and the lines from freezing, they said.
If an accident happens, and someone is stranded on the side of the road, they should be sure to start the car and use the heater for about 10 minutes each hour, said the Red Cross, and keep the exhaust pipe clear so that fumes do not back up in the car. Leaving the overhead light on while the car is running will help rescuers to see the vehicle more easily, and one window should be kept open, preferably not in the same direction as the wind, they said.
Temperatures for the rest of this week are expected to stay in the upper 30’s and 40’s, said AccuWeather, but expect frigid temperatures in the low teens beginning Monday and intermittently throughout the next several weeks.