Thursday, January 13, 2011

Officials Say Winter Weather Threat Is Not Over

With most of the nation reporting measurable snowfall in the last week, officials with the Putnam County Emergency Services say it's easy to think the end is in sight once the snow has stopped. But spokesman Brandon Smith says Putnam County, like many areas, has not seen the end of extremely cold temperatures. Ane he says these temperatures will continue to cause problems for many citizens. With temperatures forecasted to warm up slightly through the weekend, much of the area’s snow may begin to melt. But with temperatures dropping back down again at night, the melting can quickly turn to ice.

“There are really two main problems we are concerned with. We are seeing people falling on the ice, and we are concerned about those with major medical problems getting out in the cold.” said Smith, who is Public Safety Officer for Putnam County 911 and EMS. “Many people forget that their doctors have cautioned them again being exposed to extremely cold air, and especially exertion during the cold like shoveling snow or cleaning of a snow-covered vehicle.”

Ice that is present in areas such as driveways or parking lots, where vehicles have packed down or blown away the covering snow are the areas that are the most dangerous. There also remain to be many snow and ice covered roads throughout the city and county. Tyler Smith, Emergency Management Agency Director states “Back roads are always tricky because they just aren’t travelled enough to keep them clear, and in many cases they are shaded from the sun as well. We encourage everyone to slow down and pay close attention to the roadways”

With winter weather also come problems for the extremely young and extremely old. Take caution to bundle up young children when going outside, limit time spent outside, and frequently check on elderly or disabled friends and family members.

“We want everyone to stay safe, and this type of weather is not something we get enough of to really get used to. The easiest way to keep from having problems is to just slow down. Drop your speed when driving, walk slowly and pay attention, and limit outdoor physical activity as much as possible” reminds Brandon Smith.