Local schoolchildren are getting an extra day of Christmas vacation because of the winter weather.
Several school districts, daycares and businesses are closed today due to the dangerous cold temperatures and hazardous roads.
The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill warning until Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.
Forecasters say temperatures will plummet throughout the day with gusty winds making it feel as cold as 35 below.
Prior to going outside or driving today, officials warn residents to prepare by dressing warmly in layers and bring supplies.
“It only takes just ten or fifteen minutes at the most with these kind of wind chills to start the frostbite process,” National Weather Service meteorologist Myron Padgett said.
The frigid temperatures can cause issues for homeowners, but there are ways to protect their home and property during cold weather. Residents are encouraged to follow steps to avoid frozen pipes:
- Keep the house temperature set to a minimum of 65 degrees.
- Know the location for the main water shutoff in your home and find out how it works in case you have to use it.
- Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
- If you discover that pipes are frozen, take measures to safely thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
- If pipes do burst, turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don’t want the water to do more damage than it already has.
Animals also shouldn’t be forgotten when the temperature drops.
Linda Davis, with the Franklin County Humane Society said bedding and shelter is important for the safety of the animal.
“Make sure you have straw or even hay, anything with protection for those outside dogs,” Davis said. “Also, water freezes so quickly that if you cant afford one of those heating elements, have the water replaced at least twice a day.”
She added to wipe the pet’s paws and stomach when they come in from the sleet, snow or ice.
When temperatures drop as low as they are, being outside for any length of time could result in frostbite.
Cats and other animals will seek heat wherever possible including a car engine. Bang on the hood or honk the horn prior to starting you car.
Also, try to avoid letting your dog off the leash during the snow, they could lose their scent and become lost. Some dogs and other animals do not tolerate the weather as well as others, so it may be important to get young, elderly and sick pets into a warm area if possible.