Bitter cold to move in after snowfall

Nicole A. Hawley
Staff writer
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Posted 1/29/19

Extremely cold temperatures and negative wind chills are expected this week, along with significant snowfall. National Weather Service at Binghamton Meteorologist Bryan Greenblatt said the Utica-Rome …

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Bitter cold to move in after snowfall

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Extremely cold temperatures and negative wind chills are expected this week, along with significant snowfall.

National Weather Service at Binghamton Meteorologist Bryan Greenblatt said the Utica-Rome region can expect good amounts of snow starting this afternoon, but that the “real story” is the cold that’s coming behind the storm.

“The heaviest snow associated with this system will linger on this afternoon into this evening, falling at a half-inch to inch per hour,” Greenblatt said. “Across Utica-Rome, between 8-12 inches is expected, with much less amounts further south.”

“But the biggest story is the bitterly cold air that will come in late tonight and last through Thursday night,” he continued. “It can get as cold as 30 below zero in some areas. That’s the biggest story with this system — it’s what’s behind it.”

Greenblatt said temperatures should start getting more seasonable starting Friday and definitely become more “normal” into the weekend.

AAA Western and Central New York have released some tips for drivers so that they are prepared for what lies ahead.

During the last major storm on Jan. 21, AAA WCNY handled nearly 4,300 calls across western and central New York, which was triple the normal call volume for a typical January day, AAA officials said. Most calls were for dead batteries and tows.

Due to the forecasted severe weather conditions and bitter cold temperatures, AAA is expecting extremely high call volume. AAA prioritizes service requests in an effort to assist members who are in dangerous roadside conditions first. 

If drivers are in an emergency situation, they shouldn’t hesitate to call 911 for assistance. Member safety is of the utmost importance at AAA, and roadside rescue is its primary concern. For those stranded at home or in a safe location, they are asked to be patient as AAA responds to ensure the safety of those broken down on the road, first.

AAA listed the following tips:

• For your own personal safety – be prepared.

• Dress warm and carry extra clothes including an extra hat, gloves, mittens and extra warm socks.

• Make sure your gas tank is full, put at least one blanket in your car as well as a shovel in your trunk.

• Carry bottled water and a few high protein snacks in case you do get stranded.

• Ensure that you have your cellphone and a charger.

• Let someone know where you are going and keep in touch.

• Don’t travel alone unless you have to.

To request roadside assistance, call 800-AAA-HELP (800-222-4357), visit our website or download the AAA Mobile App. Drivers should keep in mind that AAA may be unable to provide service in areas that are under travel bans. Refer to a town or county website for further information. 

The American Red Cross is also warning area residents to heat their homes safely during spells of extremely cold weather.

“A winter storm is headed our way, and our first priority is making sure that residents across our region stay safe,” said Kimmy Venter, spokesperson for the American Red Cross Eastern New York Region. “Whether you’re trying to keep your home warm or dealing with the elements outside, put safety first and follow these tips at all times.” 

Heating your home safely

During this time of year, several people resort to space heaters and other sources to keep their homes warm. Home heating is the second leading cause of fires in the U.S. To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends these steps:

• All heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn, such as paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.

• If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, such as ceramic tile floor, not on rugs or carpets, or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets — never into an extension cord.

• Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace. 

• Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.

• Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.

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