Snow To Continue, Cold Here To Stay

Old Man Winter has come at last.

Earlier this week, NOAA issue a lake effect snow warning for all of Chautauqua County which predicted 1 to 2 feet of snow in the region. The warning was initially through 7 p.m. Tuesday, while a wind chill advisory was predicted through 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Both of those warnings have been extended, and it looks like additional snow and wind will come along with those extensions, as well.

Now the National Weather Service has declared a wind chill advisory until 11 a.m. and a lake effect snow warning until tonight at midnight.

NOAA is calling for 3 to 6 inches of snow to fall this morning, with another 3 to 6 inches coming in the afternoon.

With regard to the wind chill advisory, winds anywhere from 15 to 25 mph will be coming from the west, and visibility is expected to be as low as a quarter-mile at times. Temperatures could feel like minus 15 degrees during gusts.

The weather has already created problems for residents.

During early afternoon on Tuesday, black ice caused what could have been a serious accident on Route 62 in Poland.

According to the driver of the vehicle, she hit a patch of black ice and attempted to correct her sliding vehicle, but instead overcorrected and fishtailed her truck into the ditch, where it then rolled over.

The driver was going north on Route 62. However, when the vehicle came to rest in the ditch, the truck was facing south.

According to the driver, neither she nor her pet rats, which were riding in the back of her truck, were injured. The truck did not fair as well, however, as it appeared to be moderately to severely damaged.

Once the vehicle was overturned in the ditch, a nearby neighbor heard the noise and came to assist the driver get out of the truck.

One New York State Trooper responded to the crash, and waited with the driver for a tow truck to remove the vehicle from the ditch. The officer was kind enough to keep the rats in his patrol car while the driver waited for a tow.

PREPARATION AND INSIGHT ARE KEY

Though many tried and true Western New Yorkers like to brag about how well prepared they are for the cold, any temperature which dips into the negatives could prove to be very dangerous. NOAA offers some tips for being safe in such cold and potentially dangerous weather.

If it is a necessity to spend an extended amount of time in the cold, it is obvious that one should bundle up. However, it is recommended that alcohol consumption remain at a minimum for anyone expecting a prolonged exposure to the cold.

Though alcohol causes many people to “feel warm,” it decreases the body’s ability to regulate and maintain body temperature. Symptoms such as numbness and loss of sensation are signs that one should move inside to warm up, and alcohol could keep one from experiencing such symptoms.

Additionally, children and the elderly are more susceptible to the cold and should avoid extreme temperatures, or should be completely bundled up if it is a necessity to be in the cold.

Pets and animals, though covered in fur, are just as susceptible to the cold as humans are. All pets should be kept indoors during extreme conditions. Even if a pet has access to shelter outside, such cold conditions can freeze any food or water the animal would normally consume, which could lead to dehydration or even starvation.

If power is lost and a generator is going to be used as an alternative power source, make sure the generator is located outdoors and is properly ventilated. Additionally, space heaters should also be properly ventilated and used only if they are operating properly. It is essential to make sure snow does not block exhausts and fresh air intakes for high efficiency furnaces and water heaters.

Finally, if people are experiencing symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia, they should go to the nearest medical facility as quickly as possible. Warming frostbitten areas too quickly or too slowly could cause permanent tissue damage, and the local hospital will best be able to treat the problem.