Pennsylvania State Officials Warn Citizens to Plan for Snow Overnight and Dangerous Cold, Below-Zero Wind Chill this Weekend
HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — State health and emergency management officials are urging the public to pay attention to forecasts calling for snowfall across much of Pennsylvania tonight and Friday morning, followed by sharply colder temperatures over the weekend.
“Anyone who plans to travel should be sure to check road conditions before heading out, and allow plenty of time to reach their destination,” said Glenn Cannon, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “In addition, motorists should have a small emergency kit of food, water, warm clothing and any specialized items like medication or baby supplies loaded in their car before leaving work or home.”
Forecasts predict the bulk of the snow will fall Thursday evening and overnight before the storm system exits the northeast part of the state Friday morning. The coldest temperatures and wind chills of the season are expected over the weekend, with high temperatures in the single digits and below-zero wind chills.
During periods of extreme cold, the Department of Health recommends that you:
- Make outdoor trips as brief as possible.
- Dress warmly in several layers of loose fitting clothing.
- Cover your mouth and face with a scarf or knit mask to protect your lungs from extremely cold air.
- Keep dry and change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.
- Avoid exertion as cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart.
- Remain in your vehicle if you become stranded. Keep warm by wrapping your entire body in extra clothing, blankets or newspapers. Move your arms and legs while sitting to improve circulation and stay warmer.
- Watch for signs of frostbite. These consist of loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of the nose.
Hypothermia can also occur indoors if your thermostat is set too low, or there is a power outage or heating system failure. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, warm the victim up immediately and get medical help as soon as possible. To help reduce the risk of hypothermia, follow these recommendations:
- Conserve heat by avoiding unnecessary opening of doors or windows. Close off unused rooms, stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors and close draperies or cover windows with blankets at night.
- Monitor body temperature of infants less than one year old. Infants should never sleep in a cold room because they lose body heat more easily than adults and can’t make enough body heat by shivering.
- Check the temperature in your home often if you are over 65 years of age. Older adults often make less body heat because of slower metabolism and less physical activity.
- Check on elderly friends and neighbors frequently to ensure that their homes are adequately heated.
- Eating a well-balanced meal will help you stay warmer. Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.
Motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by calling 511 or visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 500 traffic cameras. The 511 site also provides easy-to-use, color-coded winter road conditions for all interstates and other routes covered in the 511 reporting network. Regional Twitter alerts are also available on the 511PA website.
Never call 911 to request or report road conditions. When calling 911 to report an emergency, it is critical for callers to stay on the line, even if for an extended series of rings, until the operator answers. Hang-ups due to frustration result in wasted staff time as the 911 center tries to reestablish contact.
The commonwealth’s ReadyPA campaign encourages citizens to take three basic steps before an emergency occurs: Be Informed, Be Prepared, Be Involved. More detailed information, including downloadable emergency kit checklists and emergency plan templates, is available online at www.ReadyPA.org or by calling 1-888-9-READY-PA.
Media contact: Maria A. Finn, PEMA; 717-651-2009 Holli Senior, Health; 717-787-1783
SOURCE Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency