Citizens should be wary of the cold

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Crazy weather patterns have once again arrived in Covington County.

Over the weekend, there were talks of possible snow in areas as far south as Baldwin County. By Saturday night, a hard freeze warning was in effect locally as temperatures dipped right below freezing.

However, that’s the opposite of the coming days’ forecast, as temperatures today are expected to be in the mid-60s, before climbing to 75 degrees Wednesday with a 60 percent chance of rain.

On Thursday night, the county will see its lowest temperature of the week — 37 degrees.

“Over the last week or so, we’ve seen the weather go from cool and beautiful to stormy and freezing in a matter of days,” said Merrill Davis, executive director of the Covington County chapter of the American Red Cross. “And odds are the trend will continue throughout the coming weeks, so it’s not early or too late to remind people about the ‘four P’s’ — people, pipes, pets and plants.

“Make sure you check on your elderly neighbors,” he said, citing that wide shifts in weather could cause health ailments. “Bring your pets indoors, but if you can’t, make sure you provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they can get to unfrozen water.”

Davis said protecting pipes can often prevent damages due to freezing.

“Now is the opportune time to (wrap pipes) because the weather is warmer,” he said. “And please, please be cautious when heating homes to avoid house fires,”

Davis recommended these tips for heating the home during cold weather:

Make sure space heaters are in proper working order. If utilizing gas space heaters, make sure that all gas lines are working properly, and that furniture and other objects are far enough away to help prevent ignition.

Electric space heaters should never be left unattended or running throughout the night. Likewise, gas space heaters should never be left unattended and one should not go to sleep with any space heater on.

Do not try to heat the home with a stove or oven. This poses a very serious fire hazard, and a possible carbon monoxide hazard.

Merrill also suggested dressing in layers to help regulate body temperature.

“The temperature and weather in south Alabama can change in a matter of hours,” he said. “Temperatures may be cool, or cold, in the morning, but by afternoon, they could be just as easily warm.”