Severe weather predictedBelow 0 temperatures expected this weekend and Monday
With the temperature expected to drop well below zero this weekend, residents are advised to take added precautions. The consensus among officials is that in severe weather people simply shouldn’t travel unless it is absolutely necessary.
The first advice Washington Police Sgt. Shawn Ellingson gave was for people not to travel unless they had to. He said people should just stay inside and not drive anywhere. He said if people have to go outside in sub-zero weather, they need to limit the amount of time they are outside. He also said that they should make sure not to have any exposed skin. In sub-zero temperatures, frostbite can begin within a matter of minutes.
“Hopefully people’s holiday travel is done and we can hunker down and ride this out,” Ellingson said.
The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for the area. As early as tonight, cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills are predicted. Beginning Saturday, extreme cold temperatures are expected to affect the area. Wind chills are predicted to be between -20 and -50 with the worst predicted Sunday night. Winds of 15 to 25 mph are predicted Monday. The extreme cold is expected to last through Tuesday.
Ellingson said that one bad aspect about Monday is that the high winds can blow the snow, limiting visibility for drivers. He said that he had received word earlier today from the Washington School District that several events have been canceled Monday. At the Washington School District office, officials report that the junior varsity away games at Fort Madison, scheduled for Monday night, have been postponed. Ellingson said that junior varsity wrestling practice for Monday has been canceled.
In cases where people have to travel, Ellingson advised keeping a cell phone and a charger in the car, in case the driver needs to summon assistance. He also said that the traveler should let people know when they are going to leave for their destination and what time they are expected to arrive. If the traveler doesn’t show up, their friends can let law enforcement know that they hadn’t arrived.
“Before the weather hits is a good time to check your car,” Ellingson said.
At Gretter Autoland, the maintenance department is gearing up for an influx of cars Monday. Service advisor Toni Greiner said that many times people damage cars by continually cranking the engine in an attempt to get it to start.
“Having a good battery is key,” Greiner said.
In discussing some safety tips for automobiles, she learned the mechanics recommend keeping the fuel tank full during extreme weather, because this makes it easier for the engine to start. A good fuel conditioner is also recommended. Checking windshield washer fluid is advisable for driving in sloppy weather conditions.
Greiner also repeated the safety advice given by many for extreme cold conditions.
“Stay in where it is warm and don’t go out unless you have to,” she said.