Well I hope you’re staying safe & warm, as this week finds us right in the middle of an arctic-cold-snap bringing with it record-setting-low-temperatures! Winter storm Uri is upon us!
With millions of homes without power and the coldest temperatures in decades, many endured a miserable night in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri. As temperatures dropped into the single digits, people desperately sought ways to stay warm, even amidst rolling power blackouts.
Rolling Power Outages are impacting 14 states.
For the second consecutive day, the Southwest Power Pool, which manages the electric grid across parts of 14 states, warned that demand has exceeded its electric supply. It again warned that member utilities would implement controlled outages.
Rolling blackouts were reported in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and New Mexico. They affected tens of thousands of customers at a time. Beyond the planned outages, hundreds of thousands of customers lost power because of the effects of Winter Storm Uri.¹
Oklahoma broke a daily record Monday for lowest recorded temperature ever on the date of Feb. 15th.
The previous daily record of minus-15 degrees was set in 1905 in Vinita. During the early morning hours Monday, Oklahoma Mesonet recorded minus-22 degrees in Kenton, located in the far western Oklahoma Panhandle.
That’s the coldest temperature on record since 2018. Oklahoma’s all-time record low was minus-31 degrees, set in Nowata on Feb. 10, 2011. The state’s longest stretch of temperatures at or below freezing is 13 days; that record likely won’t be beaten by the current storm system. According to the National Weather Service, the current streak began Feb. 8 and is expected to last until Feb. 19, which is only 11 days.
The state is also setting wind chill records.
Oklahoma City tied the record low wind chill value of minus-29 degrees Monday morning (Feb 15th), according to the National Weather Service. The previous record was set in 1947. Fort Sill broke its lowest wind chill record at minus-26 degrees. The previous wind chill record of minus-22 also occurred in 1947.²
If all of this Winter weather has your teeth starting to chatter, just remember there are a few things that you can do to not only survive the cold weather, but do it safely, as well.
After a major winter storm, the roads are especially slick, and it’s easy for your car to slip off the road. Power outages are also common during extreme weather, and without electricity a house can quickly become unbearably cold.
For pet owners, a new snowfall presents its own set of challenges. If not guided by a leash, dogs can easily get away from their owners and get lost in the snow. But there’s no reason to be a victim of these winter hazards.
By employing some simple remedies and precautions, you can enjoy the coziness of the snow storm rather than worry about your safety.³
Here are a few ways to stay safe during a blizzard/winter storm:
Charge Your Cellphone: The importance of a cellphone can’t be overstated. These are the ultimate emergency devices, so make sure yours is charged and ready to go.
Don’t Forget About Your Pets: Blizzards can be especially hazardous for pets. During heavy snowfall, keep your dog on a leash during walks and add some colorful identifying tags to the collar. Also, be wary of melting ice; it can be very painful for dogs to walk over and is potentially toxic if ingested.
Exercise Caution When Shoveling: Shoveling is a necessity, but it’s also an easy way to throw out your back and even induce a heart attack. Remember to take constant breaks and stay hydrated; it’s a workout after all.
Never Use a Generator Indoors: If you have an alternative power source such as a generator, make sure not to use it inside, even if it’s located in a basement, garage, or crawlspace. The fumes it creates contain carbon monoxide, which can be especially dangerous to children, the elderly, and pets.
Stay Inside: Staying off the roads and remaining indoors is the best way to avoid winter hazards, and the perfect chance to whip up some soup, but once the wind and the snow taper off, don’t be afraid to step outside and enjoy the snow.³
But if Winter is your-season-of-choice and you just can’t wait to get out there and enjoy the fresh-fallen-snow…try these sure-fire ideas for enjoying that winter wonderland!
10 Fun Things to do in the Snow – Outside!
Go sledding! Get a sled, make a sled out of cardboard, and just go!
Build a snowman. Roll some balls, big or small. Build a snowman together. Find rocks for eyes, twigs for arms, and wrap him up warm with a hat and scarf!
Have a snowball fight! Show the kids how to make a snowball. Play a snow ball target practice game. Set up something to throw at and let the kids get some practice in throwing!
Build a snow fort. Pack the walls together to build a safe place for hiding out!
While you’re out shoveling the driveway or sidewalk, let the kids help! Or have them make their own paths… maybe a snow maze!
Stomp through the snow and make sets of your own footprints!
Instead of making your own footprints, look for animal prints! Can you find rabbit prints? Squirrels? Deer? Discover what’s in your own backyard!
Get creative outside playing in the cold snow! Paint the snow! Make it colorful!
After a fresh snowfall, go lay out in it and make some snow angels together. Play along and make a whole snow angel family!
And, this one will surely be a hit with the kids: Load. Dump. Scoop. Pour. Do it in the snow!⁴
If you’re headed outside in the cold-weather for any amount of time-- be sure to take some extra cold-weather precautions. Winter weather can have an adverse effect on our health…so plan ahead & plan accordingly.
Here are a few dangerous conditions that can be caused by harsh winter weather:
Frostbite. This results from cold temperatures damaging parts of your body, most often your ears, nose, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. Frostbitten skin may look white or gray and can feel hard or waxy. Blisters can form. You may also have trouble moving that part of your body. In severe cases, the skin will turn black.
Hypothermia. This condition occurs when your body temperature drops below 95˚F (35˚C). This results from your body losing more heat than it can make, such as when you are exposed to cold or water. Hypothermia can show up as shivering, clumsiness, confusion, tiredness, or urinating more than usual. If not treated quickly, hypothermia can cause severe health problems, including death.
Heart problems. Cold weather can increase your risk of a heart attack. When you’re outside in the cold, your heart works harder to keep you warm—leading to increased heart rate and blood pressure. This can cause heart problems, especially if you have an existing heart condition. If you aren’t used to regular exercise, strenuous activities like shoveling snow may put you at risk for a heart attack.⁵
Here are some less-obvious-effects of the cold weather:
Dry skin and mucus membranes. These are common in the winter. Winter air is usually quite dry, and that can suck the moisture out of your body. Humidifiers & Moisturizers are a BIG help!
Balance. When it’s cold outside, there’s bound to be ice—which means more chances of falling and getting injured. Older people are more at risk of injury, but anyone can get hurt if they slip on icy sidewalks or stairs.
Loading up on snack foods. When the cold weather sets in, you may find yourself craving salty, sweet, or fat-filled comfort foods as your body tries to keep itself warm. Guilty as charged.⁵
And last-but-not-least, here are some cold weather Myths: Not everything you learned as a child about winter is correct. Here are a few of the most common myths.
Myth: Not wearing a coat will make you sick. While colds and flu are common in the winter, it’s not due to the weather. Some researchers say cold viruses replicate better in cold weather, while others say frosty weather can dry out the mucous membranes in your nose. However, My Mother often would say, “Don’t change the weight of our clothing.” Thanks Mom.
Myth: You lose most of your heat from your head. Your head is just another extremity. Studies show that the heat loss from your head is closer to 10 percent. So, don’t plan on going outside in the winter with just a hat for protection. Bundle up.
Myth: You shouldn’t exercise outside when it’s cold. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), if you’re in good health, you shouldn’t have any trouble exercising outside in the winter—as long as you’re dressed appropriately. If you have heart, lung, or other health problems, check with your doctor first before exercising outside. Talk-to-your-Dr.
Myth: You don’t need sunglasses in the winter. Although the sun is less intense in areas that have winter, there are still enough rays to damage your eyes. I often find the reflection off the snow on a sunny day to be extreme. Wear your sunglasses.⁵
Well, I hope that we’ve encouraged you—even in the middle of an Arctic Blast—to plan well, get out there & keep living you best life! There is something to be lived, loved & experienced in every season of the year!
And remember at Conizo, we want to be a part of every season of our life—because we whole heartedly believe that the wisdom of one generation does intersect with the hope of another.⁶ Do stay safe & warm in this cold & beautiful Winter season.
Thanks for stopping by…Live Life Well!
Ten Tips to Stay Safe in a Blizzard, https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/how-stay-safe-during-blizzard
Hands On as We Grow, https://handsonaswegrow.com/10-outdoor-snow-activities-giveaway/
How Extreme Cold Weather can Affect Your Health, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-extremely-cold-weather-can-affect-your-health