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Hartselle Enquirer

Baby, it’s cold outside

I was getting along fine with Ole Man Winter during the Christmas holidays when North Alabama was stuck in a pocket of warm air and we benefited from several days of near- to record-breaking, spring-like temperatures.

What a thrill it was on Christmas Eve to see the thermostat holding steady at 70 degrees Fahrenheit without the heat pump running.

Another pleasant surprise was seeing the sprouts of jonquils peeping out from under a blanket of mulch in a flowerbed on the sunny side of our house. The good times continued into the next week as our January utility bill arrived with an imaginary happy face on the “payment due” side.

Unfortunately, the warm days disappeared in face of an arctic cold front the week before last. A Friday’s downpour turned into a swirling blast of snow, beginning at mid-afternoon, and left a one-inch cover of the white stuff in its wake. Schools closed early, businesses locked their doors and workers hurried home. The worst was yet to come. Temperatures on Saturday dipped into the high teens and left us shivering through the coldest day of the winter season.

It’s very likely that winter is here to stay for at least a couple more months. Therefore, it’s wise to be prepared.

In the event electric power is lost during a winter storm, it’s important to have a stored supply of fuel. A gas-powered generator is an option for extended outages. It’s also a good idea to have a propane barbecue grill or a charcoal-fueled smoker to take the place of the electric stove.

If you’re driving in snow and ice, be prepared in the event your vehicle breaks down or is stuck in snow. Make sure you have a battery-operated emergency light and battery cables in the trunk.

Other items to keep in the trunk include a heavy coat, a blanket, a change of clothes, an extra hat and pair of gloves, some nonperishable food and several bottles of water.

The operative words are “be prepared.” If you don‘t have an emergency plan to deal with wintry weather, now’s a good time to make one. Trying to decide what to do after a winter storm sets in is not safe or responsible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clif Knight is a staff writer for the Hartselle Enquirer.

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