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What to do during a winter storm or bitter cold

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When a major winter storm, Nor'easter, or arctic blast does strike South Jersey, here are some tips to help you better weather the worst of the storm's wrath.

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  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • Signs of Frostbite: Occurs when the skin and body tissue just beneath it freezes. Loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face, and the tip of the nose.
    • What to Do: Cover exposed skin, but do not rub the affected area in an attempt to warm it up. Seek medical help immediately.
  • Signs of Hypothermia: Dangerously low body temperature. Uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
    • What to Do: If symptoms of hypothermia are detected take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, seek medical attention immediately. Get the victim to a warm location. Remove wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets or putting on dry clothing. Give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Seek medical help immediately.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends, if you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care. Because frostbite and hypothermia both result from exposure, first determine whether the victim also shows signs of hypothermia. Hypothermia is a more serious medical condition and requires emergency medical assistance.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
  • Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.

Meteorologist/Staff Writer

Broadcast meteorologist for 15 years (Marquette, Michigan; Burlington, VT; Albany, NY; South Jersey). NBC40 Chief meteorologist from December 2003 through December 2014. Press meteorologist since January 2015

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Here is Your South Jersey Forecast

WEDNESDAY► Mainly cloudy with a few patches of drizzle and fog, otherwise drier.  Lighter winds and less cool with highs in the low to mid 60s.  North winds around 10mph.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT► Mostly cloudy with some patchy fog redeveloping. Lows in the mid 50s with winds becoming light and variable.

THURSDAY► Some patchy morning fog, then becoming partly sunny and milder, with highs in the low 70s on the mainland, 60-65 along the shore.  Southeast to south winds around 10mph.  A thundershower is possible Thursday night.

FRIDAY► A few morning clouds or patchy fog, then partly sunny as the warm-up continues, but remaining cooler along the shore.  Highs in the low 80s in the Pinelands, closer to 70 on the islands.  South winds around 15mph.

SATURDAY► Partly sunny and warm, likely the warmest day of the forecast, with highs in the low to mid 80s inland, low to mid 70s along the shore.  Winds from the southwest around 10-15mph.

SUNDAY► A back door front means a cooler and likely cloudier day compared to Saturday.  Mostly cloudy but remaining mostly dry with some breaks of sun.  Highs only in the mid 60s on the mainland, possibly mid to upper 50s along the shore.

MONDAY► Partly sunny, breezy, and warm with highs in the mid to upper 70s on the mainland, closer to 70 at the shore, with some late day or overnight scattered thunderstorms.  Brisk south to southwest winds around 10-20mph.

TUESDAY► Becoming partly sunny.  Breezy and drier with highs in the low 70s.