Earlier this week Thomaston and Upson County experienced the coldest temperatures our area has seen in more than a decade, with the thermometer reading well below freezing for several days. Residents rushed to prepare for the possibility of the wintery mix that was originally predicted, stocking up on the essentials of milk and bread, not to mention water, in case the pipes in their homes froze. However, this time there was little to no precipitation, just strong arctic winds contributing to the already cold air and making it feel several degrees below zero.
For some citizens, it was smooth sailing the past few days, especially if you did not have to venture outside of your warm home. However, others were not as lucky; as many people had their heaters go out and pipes freeze or burst due to the conditions. Airtech Heating and Cooling, Central Georgia Heating and Cooling, A&B Heating and Cooling and Joe Jordan Plumbing all stated they had seen a large increase in service calls since the beginning of the week.
It was Wednesday afternoon before temperatures finally read above 32 degrees and with lots of sunshine reached into the mid-40s. According to The Weather Channel, temperatures should remain upper 50s to mid 60s over the next few days with lows only going down to about 37 degrees. However, rain looks to move in tonight and hang around for most of the day Saturday, although the high tomorrow is about 67 degrees. It seems only in Georgia is the weather crazy enough to go from six degrees at the beginning of the week to close to 70 by the weekend.
The key in any weather related event is to be prepared. The Upson Emergency Management Agency offered the following tips to the community on what to do if we encounter any more conditions like these or worse throughout the winter.
Safety is a big factor. Never use an open flame to keep warm, as a fire will usually result. Devices such as a kerosene heater can be used as an alternative heat source, just make sure to have a window open to ventilate the carbon monoxide fumes that will build up. Do not use charcoal to cook with indoors or for heating purposes, the smoke contains toxic fumes that will kill you. There is warmth in numbers and layers. Everyone huddled together in one bed will keep everyone warm. Sleep with layers of clothing and blankets.
Make a winter emergency kit that includes rock salt or some other type of product to melt ice on walkways; sand to improve traction; snow shovels or other snow removal equipment; sufficient heating fuel in case regular fuel sources become cut off; blankets and adequate clothing to keep you warm.
Your family may not always be together when disaster strikes, therefore it is important to have a family communication plan. Know how to contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service. Be alert to changing weather conditions.
Leave faucets dripping overnight as running water does not freeze.
Make sure to bring pets inside, but if that is not possible then make sure they have a safe heat source. Make sure to check on elderly family members and neighbors as cold weather is certainly their enemy.
Make sure to have batteries on hand for hand-held flashlights and portable radios. Do not forget to make sure your cell phones, laptops and tablets are charged or have a battery backup.
Most importantly, make sure you have adequate food and water to last you for at least 72 hours, in case you are stranded in your home.