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Surviving the Polar Vortex - Your tips

I've been reading how some folks in the Southern US will be experiencing some temperatures that Northerners more customarily experience. I thought that it might be helpful for those of us who have experienced extreme weather to offer some helpful hints:

I'll start off with a few:

For your body

Dress in layers of clothing. Layered light clothing will keep you warmer than almost anything else.
Wear a hat. The amount of body heat that leaves through your head is amazing. When camping in cool months, I even wear a knit hat when I go to sleep.
Drink lots of water. Cold air is much dryer than warm air, and you will actually loose moisture though your skin, even though you won't be sweating.
Use a good moisturizer/AS balm to moisturize the skin.
Minimize alcohol consumption. Alcohol will constrict circulation in your extremities, fingers, toes, hands, feet etc. Your body will already be doing this on it's own as it prioritizes keeping your internal organs warm. Don't worsen the situation.

For your Car

Check to see that your coolant is topped off, that it's not ancient and mixed in proper proportion for cold weather.
Same for your motor oil, transmission fluid.
Warm your car up. Use an extra key so that you can lock it inside the car, and simply run the engine. It's better if you're not in the car, as your warm breath can freeze on the inside of the cold windshield.
Drive gently for the first few miles until the mechanical parts of your car are truly warmed up. If you're the kind of person who stomps on the gas, be gentle and let your engine and transmission get acclimated.

For your house.

Extreme weather can freeze your water pipes in no time flat. It's a good practice to leave your cold water faucet on just enough so that it drips water. That slow movement of water in the pipe is enough to help prevent freezing. If you have water pipes that are adjacent to an outside wall, run the cold water more aggressively. If your pipes freeze, DO NOT use a propane torch to try and thaw them. There are always a few house fires each year when folks try to do this.

If it's snowy or icey, drive slowly and deliberately. The rule of thumb is that all accidents happen during states of change for your vehicle. If you are turning, slow down. If you have to use the brakes, brake earlier than you normally would, increasing pressure on the brakes more gradually. All wheel drive is helpful, but doesn't give you license to drive as if you were on dry pavement. Same thing goes with four wheel drive. Four wheel drive can be helpful in snow, but does nothing on ice.

Don't believe that you will always be able to see ice on the road. Everyone who drives in a northern climate, knows the phrase, "black ice". Black Ice is called such because it's basically almost completely transparent and therefore largely invisible.

If your house is cold, do not use any charcoal, propane or other camping type heating devices or stoves. These are designed to work outside where there's lots of ventilation for the Carbon Dioxide and other gases that they produce. A quick way to provide heat is to boil a large pot of water on the stove. This is perfect stew/soup weather.

Be safe, dress for the weather
 

Toothpick

Needs milk and a bidet!
all great tips there.

Or just do what I do...stay inside and wait it out. You know it's cold out when it's a slow business day at Walmart. Seriously....they were almost what I would call "dead".
Being from the Chicago area this little bit of cold doesn't bother me.

today: 10 degrees, tomorrow 24, Wednesday 40's, Thursday and on 50's. One more day and then it's back to business as normal.
 
For your Car

Check to see that your coolant is topped off, that it's not ancient and mixed in proper proportion for cold weather.
Same for your motor oil, transmission fluid.
Warm your car up. Use an extra key so that you can lock it inside the car, and simply run the engine. It's better if you're not in the car, as your warm breath can freeze on the inside of the cold windshield.
Drive gently for the first few miles until the mechanical parts of your car are truly warmed up. If you're the kind of person who stomps on the gas, be gentle and let your engine and transmission get acclimated.

Another tip: get a remote starter system. Best Buy sells the Viper brand ($300-$500 or so). It may sound like one of those features you never use, but trust me, it is amazing to have, especially if you park outside.
 
Good tips.
-12 right here in Madison, WI with -45 degree windchill. We actually cancelled school throughout the state today because it was so cold.
 
Another tip: get a remote starter system. Best Buy sells the Viper brand ($300-$500 or so). It may sound like one of those features you never use, but trust me, it is amazing to have, especially if you park outside.
A couple of decades ago, when we were newly married, we used to snicker at our neigbors who used a remote car starter. Now it's looks pretty good to me. :001_smile:001_smile
 
I hadn't heard about a rush bananas before, but here's Universal Hub's French Toast Alert System:

The French Toast Alert System has been developed in consultation with local and federal emergency officials to help you determine when to panic and rush to the store to buy milk, eggs and bread.

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Low: No storm predicted. Harvey Leonard sighs and looks dour on the evening news. Go about your daily business but consider buying second refrigerator for basement, diesel generator. Good time to replenish stocks of maple syrup, cinnamon.

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Guarded: Light snow predicted. Subtle grin appears on Harvey Leonard's face. Check car fuel gauge, memorize quickest route to emergency supermarket should conditions change.

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Elevated: Moderate, plowable snow predicted. Harvey Leonard openly smiles during report. Empty your trunk to make room for milk, eggs and bread. Clear space in refrigerator and head to store for an extra gallon of milk, a spare dozen eggs and a new loaf of bread.

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High: Heavy snow predicted. Harvey Leonard breaks into huge grin, can't keep his hands off the weather map. Proceed at speed limit before snow starts to nearest supermarket to pick up two gallons of milk, a couple dozen eggs and two loaves of bread - per person in household.

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Severe: Nor'easter predicted. This is it, people, THE BIG ONE. Harvey Leonard makes repeated references to the Blizzard of '78. RUSH to emergency supermarket NOW for multiple gallons of milk, cartons of eggs and loaves of bread. IGNORE cries of little old lady you've just trampled in mad rush to get last gallon of milk. Place pets in basement for use as emergency food supply if needed.
 

Toothpick

Needs milk and a bidet!
Another tip: get a remote starter system. Best Buy sells the Viper brand ($300-$500 or so). It may sound like one of those features you never use, but trust me, it is amazing to have, especially if you park outside.

I had a Viper remote start/alarm, closer to the $500 range. It was amazing during both the winter and summer. Had one of those nifty LCD screens on the starter that would tell me if my car was actually running or off, if someone tried to break in it would tell me what door/truck was open. The best feature was I could hit the button to trigger the start, take the keys out of the ignition with the car still running, arm the alarm, do my business in a store and come back to a still running secured warm car...or nice and cool if during the summer.

needless to say....everyone should own a remote start.
 
For those who think that 4WD or AWD is the solution to all your winter driving problems, remember this:

They'll both get you into situations your brakes will not be able to get you out of. If it's that hard to get going, imagine how hard it's going to be to stop (although trees, power poles, guardrails and other vehicles do make effective, auxiliary braking systems).
 
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