As bone-chilling temperatures linger Tuesday, take precautions to protect yourself, others and your home from dangerous conditions.
The wind chill Tuesday morning is forecast to be about -2 degrees with the high for the day not exceeding 29 degrees, according to meteorologist Jeff Linton, of the National Weather Service in West Columbia, S.C.
Bitterly cold weather continues Tuesday night and Wednesday morning with temperatures falling to about 16 degrees. Wednesday’s high temperature is expected to reach 43 degrees.
Here are some cold weather reminders:
PLANTS: Shield budding and blossoming plants from cold air and wind by covering them with sheets or blankets at night. Pay close attention to camellia bushes, most of which are filled with buds and blossoms now, said Sue Stitch, the manager of Green Thumb West Nursery and Garden Center.
Take coverings off plants during the day, even as cold temperatures persist, so the sunshine can reach them, Stitch said.
POOLS: Keep pool pumps running to prevent pipes and filters from freezing and bursting, said David Sutherland, service manager at Carefree Pools and Spas. If you lose power, drain the pump and filter.
“Make sure (pool) pumps run continuously 24-7 until these temperatures come up above 32 degrees,” he said.
For pools with liners, do not try to break the ice if the water freezes, Sutherland said. Let the ice melt on its own or you could risk punching a hole in the liner, he said.
PIPES: Take care to insulate plumbing, especially in vacant or unheated houses, said Universal Plumbing President Larry Jones. Pay attention to outside water spigots and pipes under houses and in attics.
If you cannot insulate pipes, turn the water off at the main valve located at the water meter or at the house. Drain water from an outside faucet and open a hot water source indoors. If you do not drain the pipes, leave a small, steady stream of water flowing from a faucet.
“The cost of doing that is going to be a lot less than getting a plumber out,” he said.
PETS: Bring dogs and cats indoors when temperatures reach frigid lows.
Edward Jefferson, Augusta Animal Services’ field operations manager, said his department received three complaints Monday about pet owners leaving animals out in cold temperatures.
Jefferson said even if a pet owner has an outdoor shelter for a pet, the animal might not always use it and could still be suffering in the cold.
He said there is no base temperature officers use to require animals be kept inside, but he urged pet owners to use good judgment on keeping pets comfortable and safe.
PARENTS: Check on elderly parents who live alone or have special health needs, experts advise.
Jeanette Cummings, the director of the CSRA Area Agency on Aging, said it’s a good idea to stay overnight with the elderly during cold weather. If you cannot do so, make sure they have adequate food, operating heat, medications and emergency supplies.
The elderly are particularly at risk for hypothermia, where the body temperature drops below 95 degrees and in severe cases can drop to 82 degrees and below, said Dr. Larry Mellick, a professor of emergency medicine at Georgia Regents University. Elderly people on a fixed income might not have enough heat in the house, for instance.
And they are more at risk from accidents outside, Mellick said.
“They walk outside, slip on the ice, fall, break a hip, and then lay there until someone discovers them,” he said. “It doesn’t take real long for them to get severely hypothermic, lying on the wet ground, with all of the heat transfer that happens.”
PUPILS: Bundle up children for the bus stop. Dress them in layers, with a hat and gloves, said Augusta-Richmond County Emergency Management Disaster Preparedness Coordinator Mie Lucas.
If parents can wait with the child, stay inside a warm car shielded from the wind, Lucas said.
Staff writers Tracey McManus and Tom Corwin contributed to this story.