Prepare NOW – Widespread Power Outages Predicted with New Winter Storm across South

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CatIceWarningWeather.com warns: “If you live in the South, now is the time to prepare for another disruptive, potentially crippling winter storm. Winter Storm Pax will bring a long swath of ice and snow across the South through midweek, and the ice may accumulate enough in some areas to knock out power for thousands of people and litter roads with fallen tree limbs and downed wires. Travel will become difficult, if not impossible, in the hardest-hit areas.”

Pax will also impact the Middle Atlantic and Northeast with snow and ice later in the week.

The National Weather Service has posted winter storm watches, warnings and advisories from the Southern Plains to the Carolinas and north to New Jersey in anticipation of dangerous winter weather conditions. Now is the time to plan. Think ahead about how you will handle power outages at home and where you want to be if roads become impassable.

GeorgiaWarningIn Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal expanded the state of emergency from 31 to 45 north Georgia counties as the state expects a two-part winter storm.

“We are facing two different waves of bad weather. The first one will come in this evening. And it will be followed by a second wave that at this time appears to be more serious than the first,” said Deal.

Deal says the state’s emergency operations center will be open at 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, and Tuesday will include a liberal leave policy for state employees.

Georgia Power has crews coming in from neighboring states to help with any potential power outages.

During the conference, Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed also briefed reporters on the city’s preparation for the severe weather.

Reed says emergency leaders from Atlanta met with the state emergency leaders, and the city will follow the state’s “liberal leave” policy.

The city of Atlanta’s winter weather equipment will be ready to prepare the roads at 6.p.m Monday evening said Reed.

Motorists are being urged to stay off the roads Monday night so road crews can lay down salt and brine.

The Georgia National Guard has about 1400 vehicles around the state, and 200 people on call ready to help motorists who need assistance.

From the National Weather Service for South Carolina:  URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHARLESTON SC 428 AM EST TUE FEB 11 2014 …DANGEROUS WINTER STORM EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ACROSS INLAND PORTIONS OF GEORGIA AND THE CAROLINAS TONIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY… GAZ087-088-SCZ040-042>045-111730- /O.CON.KCHS.IS.W.0002.140212T0500Z-140213T1500Z/ JENKINS-SCREVEN-ALLENDALE-HAMPTON-INLAND COLLETON-DORCHESTER- INLAND BERKELEY- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…MILLEN…SYLVANIA…ALLENDALE… HAMPTON…WALTERBORO…ST. GEORGE…SUMMERVILLE…MONCKS CORNER 428 AM EST TUE FEB 11 2014

SIGNIFICANT ICE ACCUMULATION WILL PRODUCE DANGEROUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE OR WALK. ICE ACCUMULATION WILL DAMAGE TREES AND POWER LINES. IF YOU ENCOUNTER DOWNED POWER LINES...DO NOT TOUCH THE LINES BECAUSE YOU COULD BE ELECTROCUTED. REPORT DOWNED POWER LINES TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OR THE POWER COMPANY. PREPARE TO REMAIN IN A SAFE SHELTER WITHOUT ELECTRICITY FOR MANY HOURS. OBTAIN VITAL SUPPLIES SUCH AS POTABLE WATER...NON-PERISHABLE FOOD...MEDICINE...BATTERIES...FLASHLIGHTS AND A BATTERY POWERED RADIO.

Pick up basic survival items. You should have enough supplies to survive without leaving your house for a few days, as well as tools to help you leave if necessary. Stock up on these necessities:

  • A shovel: Even if you live in an apartment you should own a shovel as you may need to dig yourself out before your ground crew gets in, and they are unlikely to dig out your car.
  • Flashlights and batteries. Make sure you have good quality flashlights and lamps with fresh batteries. You can also purchase self-powered flashlights and self-powered radios. Some models will also charge your cell phone.
  • Candles. In case your flashlight suddenly gives out or you run out of batteries, you can light your home the old-fashioned way. Keep away from flammable objects, curtains and other flammable substances.
  • Non-perishable food. Stock up on canned soups and vegetables, powdered food, and grains like rice and pasta. Make sure you have enough to last your family at least three or four days. Make sure you have a manual can-opener, as well.
  • Bottled water. If you’re worried about the pipes freezing, stock up on some water. You can buy it bottled, or simply purchase a few gallon jugs and fill them from the tap.
  • Blankets and warm clothing. You may already have these items, but remember you will need enough blankets to keep you warm without any heat and in adverse conditions. Consider purchasing mittens, thick woolen socks, and a hooded sweatshirt, if you don’t already own these items.
  • A camping stove or grill. A gas-powered camping stove is a wise investment for any emergency situation. If you have an electric stove in the kitchen a camp stove is almost a necessity. Be sure you use it with proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and have plenty of backup fuel.   Never use charcoal, or a propane heater in an enclosed area without proper ventilation. Carbon monoxide can build up. Silent and odorless, it is deadly. Cook on the back porch, outside, in a well-ventilated area.
  • Matches to light your gas range/camping stove/candles. Do not rely on lighters that can run out of fuel or break down all too easily.
  • A battery operated radio. This way you can get news without wall power. Make sure the batteries are good. It is also possible to buy a motion charging radio, as you can with a flashlight.
  • Prescription medications. Like food, it is always wise to have enough to last you a few days.
  • A first aid kit. You never know what kind of injuries or emergencies will happen, so make sure you have sterile bandages, disinfectant, antibiotic ointment, and over-the-counter painkillers available.
  • A cellphone with a cord, or a portable cellphone charger. Cordless home phones will not work when the power is out. Many states require at least one wall plugged phone, which receives power from the telephone connection, in all households.
  • Anything else vital to your household. You should always have ample supplies of items like diapers, formula, pet food, and so on before the storm hits.
  • Make sure your car is full of gas. You may need to go out before everything is operational.

Keep yourself warm. Losing heat in your home is definitely uncomfortable, but you can survive it. Here’s what to do:

  • Stop your pipes from freezing. Before you settle into a nest of blankets, go around your house and turn on every faucet so that it’s dripping just slightly. Keeping the water moving through the pipes should help prevent them from freezing.
  • Seal up any drafts. Put towels at the bottom of any doors that have a gap, or around loose windows. If your windows are single-paned, close the curtains or pin a blanket up over them to keep the heat in.
  • Dress in layers. Put on a thin layer of cotton clothing close to your skin, and cover as much as your body as you can. (Think old-fashioned long underwear.) For ladies, consider putting on a pair of tights. On top of that, wear as many layers as you need to keep warm, finishing with one (or two) pairs of warm woolen socks and a sweatshirt or coat with a hood.
  • Wear a hood. You lose a lot of heat from the top of your head, so keep it covered. If you don’t have hooded clothing, wrap a scarf or towel around your head.
  • Stay in bed. Put as many covers as you have left over onto your bed, and hop in. Keeping your body heat in an enclosed space like the sheets will help you stay as warm as possible.
  • Cuddle up. Join forces with a freezing roommate or family member and huddle under the same blankets — you’ll warm up faster.
  • Conserve energy. 

Stay updated. Having current information is vital in an emergency, so make arrangements to stay informed.

  • Watch updates on the news or listen to the radio for as long as you can before power goes out.
  • Use social media for updates. If you don’t have access to a battery-operated radio, follow national and local disaster agencies (such as FEMA) on Facebook and Twitter. Check periodically for updates.
  • Use SMS messaging if land-line service is down. You can send an SMS via basic text messaging, or through Twitter updates. Get the phone numbers or Twitter handles of all your family members, and make sure they know how to reach you.
  • Connect with neighbors – keep each other informed and agree to connect and assist if need arises.
  • Keep tabs on your family members. Try to find out where everyone is before the storm and make a plan to stay in a safe location. If you’re going to be separated from anyone, set up a pre-determined time and method for touching base again, such as connecting via text message every 12 hours.

Anticipate a long power outage. By preparing you can make a power outage bearable.

  • Keep the fridge closed. This will help it stay cool in spite of the lack of power, and keep your food from spoiling as quickly. Only open it when it’s absolutely necessary, grab what you need, and close it up.
  • Make extra ice now and fill coolers. Water can be frozen in quart- or gallon-sized plastic bags, frozen and stacked in coolers. These can be thawed for water as needed.
  • Put frozen items outside in a hard-sealing container or cooler.  Protect from critters. If temperatures are below freezing, you could also keep refrigerated items in an enclosed porch.
  • Plan some entertainment. This can help you stave off boredom while you wait for the power to return.
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