By Jesse Wood
RaysWeather.com noted that a dusting for most of the region and one to two inches on mountaintops in the High Country. But the bigger weather story is the looming zero-degree temperature and the wind chill factor.
“Daytime highs are sunrise temperatures; they’ll fall steadily until tonight,” RaysWeather.com noted in its forecast on Wednesday morning. “Tonight valleys will be near zero and mountaintops will go down to around negative 8 degrees. Winds gusting to 45 mph will push wind chills down into the negative 20’s [with the wind chill on mountaintops being in the negative 30’s].”
The National Weather Service warns residents and visitors in the High Country of these subzero wind chill temperatures potentially leading to frost bite and hypothermia for those not prepared to be outdoors in these conditions.
Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation (BREMCO) has also released tips to help keep members safe and warm.
BREMCO suggests compiling an emergency kit that includes battery-powered radio for weather alerts, flashlights, drinking water, nonperishable food, can opener, fresh batteries, a first-aid kit and a list of emergency phone numbers including the BREMCO power outage hotline, which is 1-800-448-2383.
Below are tips for keeping your home efficiently warm during this time:
- Make sure your furnace is checked by a certified professional annually so that it’s in peak operating condition. Also, check your furnace filter each month and replace it based on the manufacturer’s recommendations so that your system operates efficiently. A dirty filter can slow air flow, making the system work harder and use more energy which drives up heating bills.
- Seal gaps around your home with caulk, spray foam, or weather-stripping to keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
- Open the blinds or curtains during the day to let the sun help heat your home. Remember to close them at night.
- Check doors and windows for air leaks that may need weather stripping or caulking.
- Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch covers to reduce air leaks.
- When the fireplace isn’t in use, make sure the flue damper is tightly closed.
- Limit use of exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms. Use only as long as necessary to reduce warm air loss.
- Wear extra layers of clothing and use extra blankets on the bed so that you can set your thermostat as low as comfortable.
- Limit use of space heaters to short amounts of time for spot heating as lengthy use can drive up heating costs.