Winter has finally settled in and with bitterly cold temperatures heading for Barton County beginning on Friday, people need to take some precautions to help prepare for the chill.
According to the National Weather Service, Friday will bring an extreme cold front that will drop the temperature drastically. On Saturday, there will be a chance of snow with a high of 16 degrees and 26-mile-per-hour north winds gusting up to 36 mph. Lows will dip to 2 degrees below zero with wind chill values from minus five to 25 degrees.
“With extreme cold weather and snow coming to the area, people need to prepare for it in case of an emergency,” Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir said. “People should keep a extra blanket in their vehicle along with a small candle to help keep the car warm. Most importantly do not leave the vehicle. It will provide you shelter from the cold and someone will find you. It is better than getting lost in some field and risking being in the cold air.”
According to the Kansas Adjutant General’s Department, people should keep a emergency kit handy and the should include: a minimum three-day supply of water, nonperishable high-energy foods, extra blankets, flashlights and extra batteries, a safe alternate heat source, extra medications and other essentials.
For the people who work out side, they should observe the following safety precautions:
• Do not work alone, if possible. Working with a partner allows you to keep an eye on each other
• When shoveling, be sure you are properly dressed with shoes or boots that give you good traction
• Work in short periods to avoid over-exertion
Outdoor pets need to be taken care of as well. They are especially vulnerable to bitter cold and extreme wind chills.
Bring outdoor pets inside if possible or ensure that they have a draft-free enclosure with straw-type bedding that is large enough for your pets to lie down, but small enough to hold in body heat if they must remain outside. Always make sure that your pets have access to food and non-frozen water.
According to the Barton County Sheriff office, If people must travel, They should make sure they and their vehicle are prepared. Check the fluid levels, ensuring that the radiator is winterized, the gas tank is over half-full and there is plenty of windshield washing fluid. Check tire treads for adequate traction, and replace windshield wiper blades if they are worn.
The BCSO also recommends keeping an emergency kit in the trunk that should include an ice scraper, jumper cables, flashlight, sand or kitty litter for traction, extra blankets and warm clothing, non-perishable food, first aid kit, matches, candle or flares, tow rope or chain and a cell phone with charger.
On the road, allow extra time for delays and slower traffic speeds. Buckle up and properly secure children in safety seats. Increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Ice and snow significantly increase your stopping distance.
“Another big risk with these cold temperatures is traveling,” Bellinder said. “Please use extra caution while driving, do not follow the vehicle in front of you to close use good judgment and please slow down. We have more accidents this time of year related to people not slowing down for the weather conditions and sliding into the vehicle in front of them or off the road.”