When the National Weather Service uses the term “dangerously cold” to describe Charlotte’s weather, it’s not an exaggeration.
Charlotte was colder than Juneau, Alaska, on Tuesday. The temperature there was only a low of 19. In Charlotte, it was 12. The rest of the week, night time lows will be 16, says the National Weather Service.
This is the kind of cold everyone needs to fear, say experts.
Fine print in the National Weather Service forecasts has been filled with warnings of the impact the cold will have on people who least expect it, including power outages, frozen pipes, stalled cars and carbon monoxide poisoning from warming cars up in enclosed spaces. Even walking too many minutes without gloves could be disastrous.
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Nearly a third of calls placed to roadside assistance provider AAA Carolinas on Monday were about dead batteries, the organization said Tuesday. Emergency roadside service calls rose to more than 4,000 by Tuesday afternoon, up from a December average of 2,750 a day
Here are some of the warnings from the National Weather Service, taken directly from the Special Weather Statement issued Tuesday morning:
▪ The cold weather will likely result in high demand for electricity across the region. Power outages may result from the heavy electrical load. Those who require electricity for heating or medical equipment should consider having backup heat or electrical sources available.
▪ Take steps now to protect your property and health from the extreme cold. If you go outside, wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf.
▪ It is imperative that parents make sure children returning to school this week are prepared for the prolonged cold, especially if they will be outside waiting at bus stops in the mornings.
▪ If driving, keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Check your antifreeze and windshield washer fluid levels. Be sure to carry a fully charged cell phone.
▪ While at home, consider allowing indoor plumbing fixtures to drip to permit water to trickle through pipes and inhibit freezing.
▪ Use caution with space heaters in order to avoid fire or injury. If emergency generators will be used, they must be situated outdoors in well-ventilated areas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
▪ Remember to check in on family, friends and elderly neighbors who might be susceptible to the cold. Do not forget about your pets. Make sure they have a source of water that will not freeze and a warm place to take shelter from the wind and cold.