New Year’s Winter Storm Tips and Preperation

National Weather Service calling for near impossible travel conditions at times on Saturday

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – With snow and bitter cold on the way for the New Year the city of Lincoln is out today treating roads with brine due to freezing temperatures and fog. They are also preparing to be out tomorrow plowing and using rock salt on the main routes.  The city is using private contractors for residential roadways.

There are ways that people at home can also be ready for the winter weather while also ringing in the new year.  Lincoln Fire and Rescue’s Battalion 1 Chief Mark Meadows gave tips for people to avoid making 9-1-1 calls.

“If you are traveling, give yourself a little extra time, just so you don’t get into that rush.  Roads could be slick.  When it’s as cold as it is, it doesn’t take very much moisture at all to hit any streets or concrete and create ice situations.”

He also said if you are planning to go out and have some drinks in the evening on New Year’s Eve, have a plan ahead of time on how to get home.  He recommends being in a safe place before you celebrate the new year so you don’t have to worry about traveling if you’ve been drinking.

With the wind chills expected to be close to negative 20 degrees and nearing negative 30, along with blowing snow and potential whiteout conditions, the National Weather Service says at times it will be near impossible to travel tomorrow.

And with the bitter cold it is important to remember to wear plenty of layers and avoid having exposed skin while outside.  With the wind chill being as low as it is going to be, frostbite can set in within as little as 30 minutes.

Along with the cold some people may use alternative methods to try and keep their home warm, but Majors says to watch out for those space heaters and don’t overload those circuits.

“Keep at least 3-4 feet of distance around them [space heaters] or even more than that depending on the size of the heater.  Next to a couch it could be as simple as a blanket falling off of somebody’s feet because they’re trying to stay warm and it falls near the heater.  Fires do start in a number of different ways.  Space heaters can cause that.”

He also says to not use combustible fuel like propane heaters to warm your home and do not use your oven to attempt to heat your home.

If people do need somewhere to go or stay to be out of the cold there are places in Lincoln to go if needed.  The People’s City Mission will be open for anyone in need of warmth.

Pastor Tom of the mission says, “people can get frostbite and their health can be a serious issue.  With people on the streets its really important to bring people in and if folks see homeless guys or anybody to encourage them to come to the mission, we don’t want to see anybody get hurt.”

Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach will also be open during the day to handout warm clothes and other necessities.  They say they will not close their doors during their staff meetings so people can stay inside and stay warm.

With snow just around the corner there’s still some time to winterize your vehicle to make sure it’s ready for the cold conditions.

When preparing to drive in the winter it’s always important to prepare for the worst.  If possible, it’s recommended people buy winter tires to drive in the Midwest, but no matter what tires are on the vehicle it’s important to consistently check the tire pressure and fill up if necessary.  Many gas stations provide air pumps to fill up tires.

While at the gas station it’s a good idea to fill up the gas tank.  It’s recommended to keep the tank at least half full during the winter months.  This keeps accumulated water from freezing in the fuel pump.  Also, your engine could be the only thing keeping you warm if you’re stranded.

It’s also important to check the windshield wiper fluid levels, snow and slush will find its way onto the windshield making fluid and wipers a must to see well while driving.

Keep an emergency kit on hand in the vehicle.  The kit should have winter clothes, a blanket, and a first-aid kit.  Tools are also a big help.  It may be a good idea to have a flashlight with batteries and flares.  Of course have a cellphone charged and a charger in the car to make emergency phone calls.

Jumper cables are another thing to keep in the vehicle.  Along with that, check the battery often.  The battery struggles more in the winter than in the summer.  It may be a good idea to get a volt test done to ensure the battery is fully charged for the winter.

As always when winter weather hits, the Channel 8 weather team will be tracking the storm as it moves through.

It’s a good idea to download the Channel 8 app on your phone to stay up to date with all the newest developments.


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