Stay smart, safe as cold weather arrives

Published 11:38 am Sunday, January 14, 2024

Bitter cold.

It’s a phrase we don’t hear often in Warren County, but that’s the forecast for the beginning of the week ahead. With windchills predicted to be in the single digits, we’re bracing for bone-chilling temperatures and, if forecasters are correct, the possibility of sleet or icy rain.

That means many of our Warren County neighbors will be struggling to stay warm and dry in the coming days.

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Due to the cold hazard and freezing weather expected Monday through Wednesday morning, the River City Rescue Mission will be open to those in need.

For those who shelter at home, please heed these tips from experts:

  • Do not use stovetops or ovens to heat your home.
  • Make sure any portable heaters are properly ventilated
  • Cover your exterior pipes to prevent them from freezing.
  • Drip water from sink and tub faucets, to keep pipes from freezing.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks to help keep pipes warm.
  • Be cautious with wood-burning stoves or fireplaces, taking precautions to make sure fires are extinguished before going to bed.
  • Keep pets inside and sheltered, whether on a patio or in a garage if necessary.
  • Bring tender plants inside or into a covered area to protect them.

If you must travel during this period, follow these tips from the Louisiana Highway Patrol:

  • Avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Reduce your speed and allow extra time to reach your destination.
  • Increase your following distance behind other vehicles.
  • Do not use cruise control while driving in wet or icy conditions.
  • Anticipate stops, such as stop signs and traffic signals, and brake gently while stopping.
  • Be aware that ice may be difficult to see and is especially likely to be present on overpasses, bridges, and shady spots on the roadway.
  • If you encounter a skid, take your foot off the accelerator and steer into the skid until you regain control.
  • Use low-beam headlights if it is raining or sleeting.
  • Watch for slow-moving DOTD vehicles, as well as first responders.
  • Ensure all vehicle occupants are properly restrained.
  • Carry extra blankets, water and weather supplies if you are traveling a long distance.

Please stay safe and warm in the days ahead.