Cold Weather Advisory
Methuen – As we prepare for very cold temperatures for the upcoming week, Mayor Stephen N. Zanni, Chief Joseph Solomon, and the Methuen Police Department are reminding residents to use safety precautions.
Daytime high temperatures will likely not rise above the teens from Thursday through the weekend. High temperatures in some interior locations may not rise above the single digits. The coldest periods are forecast to be Wednesday night into Thursday morning and Thursday night into Friday morning. Another bout of especially low wind chills is possible Saturday night into Sunday morning and Sunday night into Monday morning.
Residents are asked to use caution with space heaters and generators.
“Freezing temperatures this week will tax our heating and electrical systems as we try to stay warm, so a little caution can help you make it safely through the extreme weather,” said Methuen Mayor Stephen Zanni. The Mayor further stated concern for the elderly. “We are asking residents to check on their elderly neighbors and relatives. Let’s make sure to check on those who may be more vulnerable to the extreme cold conditions.”
The Mayor and Police Department are also concerned about the homeless. Police Chief Joseph Solomon stated,” We have started checking for the homeless and offering them rides to a shelter. Each shift will be checking their assigned areas for where the homeless hangout and offering them rides.”
Chief Solomon stated a good guide for information that residents can look to is the one by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Please see below, and please continue to follow us on facebook for further updates!
- Potentially life-threatening wind chill temperatures
- Frostbite and hypothermia possible for those without proper protection from the cold. Frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes for unprotected skin.
- Possible increase in fires from unsafe/improper use of alternative heating sources or people trying to thaw frozen pipes with blowtorches or similar devices
- Possible increase in incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning from unsafe/improper use of alternative heating sources
- Possible vehicle failure
- Possible water main breaks and pipe bursts
What to do before extreme cold weather hits
- Be informed by receiving alerts, warnings, and public safety information before, during, and after emergencies. Download the Massachusetts Alerts app.
- Create and review your family emergency plan.
- Assemble an emergency kit. Change out your emergency kit with seasonal supplies such as extra winter clothing and blankets.
- Prepare your home for possible emergencies.
- Know where your electricity, gas, and water switches and valves are located and how to shut them off. You may need to turn off water pipes if your pipes freeze or burst.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.
- Make sure your home is well insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows to keep cold air out. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide insulation.
- Be sure you have enough heating fuel and safe backup heating options or a generator in case you lose electricity.
- Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and have fresh batteries.
- Ensure your vehicle is ready for safe winter driving. Keep the gas tank at least half-full and have a Winter Emergency Car Kit in the trunk.
What you can do during extreme cold weather
- Continue to check the media for emergency information.
- Follow instructions from public safety officials.
- Reduce outdoor activities for the whole family, including pets.
- Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing instead of a single heavy layer. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens (not gloves), and sturdy waterproof boots to protect your arms, legs, hands and feet. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Follow recommended safety precautions when using space heaters, a fireplace, or a woodstove to heat your home. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Make sure emergency generators or secondary heating systems are well ventilated.
- If you lose heating, move into a single room. At night, cover windows and external doors with extra blankets or sheets.
- Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of newspapers covered in plastic to prevent them from freezing. Let a trickle of warm water run from a faucet to keep water moving through your pipes.
- If your pipes freeze, open all faucets all the way, remove any insulation, and heat the frozen pipe with a hair dryer or wrap with towels soaked in hot water. Never use an open flame to thaw pipes.
- Check with your local authorities or Call 2-1-1 to find warming centers or shelters near you.
- In the event of a power outage, you may need to take extra precautions or go to an emergency shelter to stay warm.
- Know the symptoms of and watch out for cold-related illnesses. Call 9-1-1 to report emergencies.
- Be a good neighbor. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially the elderly, those who live alone, those with medical conditions, and those who may need extra help.
What to look for in cold-related illnesses
Extreme cold can cause cold-related illness, including:
- Frostbite is the freezing of the skin and body tissue.
- Symptoms — Loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes, face, and the tip of the nose.
- Treatment — Get the victim into a warm location. Cover exposed skin, but do not rub the affected area. Seek medical attention immediately.
- Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature and is life-threatening.
- Symptoms — Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, and slurred speech.
- Treatment — If symptoms of hypothermia are detected take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, seek medical attention immediately. Get the victim to a warm location. Remove wet clothing. Warm the center of the body first by wrapping the person in blankets or putting on dry clothing. Give them warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the person is conscious.