TOPEKA -- The National Weather Service is predicting bitterly cold temperatures for Kansas over the next several days, temperatures that may break 15-year-old records. Light freezing drizzle and moderate to heavy snowfalls are also forecast for several areas of the state. Accordingly, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management is urging Kansans to take precautions now to prevent injuries and property damage due to frigid temperatures.
“If everyone will take some time now to prepare, we can all ‘weather the storm’ just fine,” said Angee Morgan, KDEM deputy director.
Frozen and burst pipes are a common occurrence when below normal temperatures hit, so make sure your household pipes are well insulated, particularly in unheated areas such as garages and crawl spaces. Disconnect outdoor hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. Open cabinet doors of kitchens and bathrooms to allow heated air to flow to pipes behind walls and under sinks. Keep a small trickle of water running at vulnerable cold and hot faucets near the exterior walls.
Livestock owners should act now, before the storms hit, to be sure that there is plenty of food and water available for their animals. Check on them whenever possible to make sure water sources have not frozen over.
Even if there is little ice, heavy snows and strong winds can bring down power lines. Check your home emergency supplies for blankets, safe alternate heat sources, flashlights, food and water, medications and other necessities. You and your family should have enough emergency supplies that you could get along for a minimum of three days in case of a power failure. Establish a calling network and check up on friends and neighbors to make sure everyone is doing well.
Travelers are urged to use caution on highways. Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car including a small shovel, blankets, food and high energy snacks, safe heat sources and other supplies. Make sure your cell phone is charged before leaving home and advise several people of your travel route and projected arrival times.
For more information and tips on preparing for winter storms, go to http://www.ksready.gov/winter.shtml.