Let's be ready for incoming winter storm
Our balmy fall is coming to an end today and Saturday, according to the National Weather Service, with the possibility of one or two inches of snow and sleet, freezing rain and gusts of wind up to 30 mph.
We've noticed the staff of the Kearney television station paying special attention to predictions of freezing ice -- can it be almost a year ago that we took pictures of twisted powerline towers and sympathized with residents of Holdrege and other town who went days or weeks without electricity?
Thinking back, it's amazing that power was restored as quickly as it was. On the other hand, we hope rate payers, utilities and taxpayers won't have to chip in millions of dollars for repair of storm-damaged power lines again any time soon, or at least until the last storm is paid off.
More importantly, we hope everyone takes the proper precautions to prevent death and injury related to icy, snowy weather.
Every year, dozens of Americans die from exposure to the cold, and that doesn't include thousands from vehicle accidents fires from dangerous heaters and other winter weather fatalaties. Historically, 70 percent percent of the injuries attributed to ice and snow result from vehicle accidents, 25 percent to people caught out in a storm, and most happen to males 40 years old and older.
The most important thing to do is stay informed; pay attention to television and radio weather reports, check the Internet -- there's a link to the National Weather Service on the Gazette's Web site: http://mccookgazette.com -- or tune in to NOAA Weather Radio on a special receiver. Perhaps such a receiver, with automatic alerts when a watch or warning is issued for your area, would make a good Christmas present.
And, know your terminology:
A "Watch" means winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36-48 hours, and you should be prepared. A "Warning" means life-threatening severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours, and immediate action is required.
An "Advisory" means winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous.
The current storm may or may not turn out to be as severe as predictions.
But now is the time to make sure you, your family, animals and pets will be safe during the storm.
Consider putting off travel, or at least make sure you have a winter survival kit in your car, and that your home is stocked up with extra food, water, medicine, and other needed emergency supplies.
Winter storms, especially ones involving freezing rain and ice, are nothing to be taken lightly.
Let's make sure we're ready for this one.