Red Cross offers winter storm preparedness tips

HANCOCK COUNTY — Temperatures topped out near 60 degrees this week, but the hint of spring is just a tease, experts said.

Much of the state is now bracing for a winter storm that is expected to bring heavy snowfall, frigid wind chills and icy roads.

Rain was expected to fall throughout the day today will become a wintry mixture of sleet and ice overnight and into Saturday morning. Snow will accumulate throughout the day Saturday, with more than 9 inches falling in some areas, and wind chills will fall below 0 by Saturday night.

The National Weather Service put a winter storm watch in effect that’s scheduled to last through the weekend. The American Red Cross offers these tips to keep yourself and your family safe:

Staying indoors is best; but if you’re heading outside, wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that will keep you warm but can be removed easily. Sweating can more easily cause hypothermia, so if you feel too warm, you should remove a clothing layer and add it back when you get chilly.

If you have to go outside, wear mittens or gloves and a hat. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from cold air. Be careful when walking on snow-covered or icy sidewalks.

Give yourself plenty of time to drive. Slow down and leave lots of room between your car and others on the road. Keep your gas tank full and your cellphone fully charged. Pack blankets, food and water in the car in case you get stranded.

Tell a friend or relative where you’re headed, what route you’re taking and when you expect to arrive. If you get stuck along the way, they can send help to look for you along that pre-determined route.

Know the symptoms frostbite and hypothermia. Lack of feeling and discoloration of fingers, toes, nose or earlobes could be a sign of frostbite. Excessive shivering, numbness or weakness and loss of consciousness could indicate hypothermia.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.