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Prepare for Extreme Cold

Tonight will be colder than any other night in the past 20 years in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Fortunately the forecast does not include snow and ice, so the threat of power outages is minimal. Take action now to stay warm during this cold snap!

Prepare Your Home:

  • Add extra insulation with weather stripping around doors/window sills to keep warm air inside.
  • Gather extra clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
  • To keep the heat you have, close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors, and cover windows at night.
  • Check your heating fuel levels and refuel if needed.
  • When using alternate heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc., use fire safeguards and properly ventilate for safety.
  • Have snow/ice removal equipment (shovels, scrapers, de-icer, etc.) on hand.

Dress Appropriately:

  • Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid overheating, perspiration and subsequent chill.
  • Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear boots.
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from cold.
  • Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves.
  • Stay dry.

If You Get Stuck in Your Car:

  • Use the supplies in your car emergency kit, which should include food, water, first aid supplies, and flashlight, plus winter supplies like blankets/sleeping bags, extra clothing to keep dry, windshield scraper and brush, sack of sand or cat litter for traction, and shovel.
  • Stay in your vehicle and run the motor about 10 minutes each hour for heat (but make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked).
  • Be visible to rescuers tying a colored cloth, preferably red, to your antenna or door and turning on the dome light at night when running the engine.
  • Exercise from time to time (move arms, legs, fingers and toes vigorously) to keep blood circulating and to keep warm.

Community members are encouraged to help their friends and neighbors during this extreme cold. If you can offer a warm space to a friend or neighbor in need, please do. During the day, take advantage of community resources to stay warm, such as libraries and community centers. By Wednesday, temperatures will return to more normal levels.

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