Here it is the middle of January in Minneapolis and we have not had a single day below 0 degrees. Nor have we had enough snow to enjoy the winter activities we usually do at this time of the year. So what happened to winter this year?
In November of 2018, the Farmers’ Almanac and the Old Farmers’ Almanac had differing opinions about the forecast for this winter. Based on their predictions it looks like the Old Man is going to win with a prediction of a gentle and mild winter.
The reason for a gentle and mild winter is a weak El Nino warming pattern. However, this pattern has kind of pushed the coldest parts of winter off until the end of January and into February. As predicted, the latest weather reports for the weekend of January 19th and 20th 2019 will be the coldest of the year and we will see some below 0 degree temperatures coming our way.
Now if we could only get some snow! If the Old Farmers’ Almanac continues to hold true, don’t expect much snow to come our way. This means, when it does snow, you had better get out there and enjoy it because it likely will not last long.
The rumors are true. Winter is coming. And the only way to avoid frostbite, hypothermia, or a massive heating bill is to plan for the snow and cold before they arrive.
Don’t let Old Man Winter catch you unprepared. Below are tips Minnesotans should follow as winter approaches:
1. The Minnesota Department of Safety that residents change the batteries in their carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
- The Centers for Disease Control urges residents to memorize the symptoms of CO poisoning, which include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
2. Clear our the gutters and repair any roof leaks.
3. Purchase plenty of sand and anti-icing products to keep sidewalks and driveways walkable. Some cities will fine homeowners if their sidewalks are not properly cleared.
4. Clean fireplaces and chimneys.
5. Keep your heating costs down and insulate your home with weather stripping and caulking. This is especially important for older houses.
6. Keep your home warm enough at all times so that water pipes do not freeze.
7. Make sure your pets are given plenty of food and water, and are not overly exposed to cold weather. Bring them inside in extreme conditions.
8. The National Weather Service recommends adjusting your schedule to avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day (early morning).
9. Make checking the forecast part of your daily routine. Don’t travel when the NWS has issued an advisory.
10. Parents should find a warm location for their kids to wait for the school bus.
11. Create a winter survival kit for your car, which should include:
- Jumper cables
- First aid fit
- Non-perishable food
- Basic toolkit, including pliers, wrench, and a screwdriver
- Pet supplies
- Cat litter or sand
- Ice scraper
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Charged Cell Phone
12. Be sure to check on family and neighbors especially at risk in cold weather.
Check out the CDC’s Winter Weather page more winter safety tips.