Temperatuers to reach below freezing, tonight, tomorrow.

Can you believe how cold it is?  I’m a smoker, and I’m enjoying going outside, lighting a cigarette, and using it for warmpth.  Okay, not really.
It’s fricking cold out there, Houston.  As someone who grew up in Northeast Tennessee, I don’t find this quite as “bone chilling” as many of you do, but I do agree it’s cold.  It’s supposed to get down to around 28 degrees, tonight, and The Weather Channel had it at 30, just ten minutes ago.  So what do we do when it gets cold?  We discuss safety.
Yep.  A lot of you will use kerosene heaters, or electric heaters, to warm your homes.  First and foremost, make darned sure you put them on HARD, non-flameable surfaces (or at least wooden surfaces).  Whatever you do, don’t sit the heater on the carpet.  If you do, be prepared to call the fire department, that night.  Also, make sure you keep the heaters away from pets, who may knock against it, tipping it over.  Make sure you keep the kerosene heaters TURNED OFF when you’re asleep, or not home.  Think I’m joking? Nope.  Most kerosene heater incidents happen when people are sleeping.  It’s not a bad idea to keep the electric heaters off, then, too.  Turn off the electric blankets when you’re not using them, too, huh?
Keep those pets INSIDE.  Even if it’s just in the garage, keep them inside.  If you put the dog and cat into the garage, set an electric heater underneath a workbench (or even on top of it) (no kerosene, in case it gets tipped over) and away from rages and combustibles, and keep it turned up reasonably high, then the animals will be fine through the night.  Seriously, don’t let them stay out in the doghouse when it’s this cold.  Some dogs will be okay with it, but your little chihuahau, or cocker spaniel, will not.
If you want to save your plants, cover them.  Plastic is probably not the best idea, as it doesn’t allow the plants to breathe as well.  Unless you’re going to be exhaling into the bag, all the time, the plants will eventually run out of carbon dioxide to breathe.  Put some sheets, or blankets, or even a couple of rugs over them.  They may not survive, even this way, but it gives them a much better chance of making it through, alive.  I’ve kept this little pitiful vine, and a “hen and chicks” plant alive through several winters, just by throwing an old rug over them.  For the smaller planters, you might consider moving them into the garage, too.
The rain has stopped, the roads have been dry for a day, and it’s only the first night below freezing for most of us, so it’s doubtful that the major roads will get iced over.  HOWEVER, you need to remember that bridges will ice over, even on the first night of a freeze.  They take much less time to cool off, even with heavy traffic.  Your ground-level roads, even those “minor” arteries like Highway 6, or even Beechnut street, will likely not freeze due to the amount of traffic on the roads during the day.  Tomorrow night? They may.  Tonight? I doubt it.  You still need to keep a watch on things.  If you encounter any “black ice” or slick spots, DO NOT CONTINUE!  Turn around, and go back, and try to find an alternate route.  What’s important is your life, not getting to point B.  Be slow and careful going over bridges, even small ones.  Be very slow in neighborhoods (try to stay around 15 mph within neighborhoods), as neighborhood streets are generally “low traffic” and tend to freeze faster than major roads.
For goodness sake, people.. bundle up.  This isn’t the time to show what kind of a man (err, I mean, idiot) you are by going out in a t-shirt.  Wear warm clothing, and spend as little time outside as possible.  Keep something around your neck, and around your head if you can.  The majority of body heat escapes through the head, so wear a hat, even if it’s just a ball-cap.  If you start to feel bad, or sick, then stop going outside, and start taking Vitamin C, and other cold remedies.  If you’re smart, and dress right, you can avoid colds, this season.  Oh, and don’t kiss any birds. a-hyuck!
Hope you guys enjoy this cold snap!  Pray for some snow!  It’s been over sixteen years since I’ve seen a decent snowfall (last year was NOT decent, I couldn’t even build a snowman (the ones on the beach were half sand, danit)), and I miss playing in it!

2 Comments so far

  1. chris (unregistered) on December 9th, 2005 @ 1:08 pm

    The fact that this post is probably necessary here is hilarious to someone who has lived in a cooler climate.

  2. Eric (unregistered) on December 9th, 2005 @ 4:16 pm

    yep. I was chuckling the entire time I was writing it. (No, seriously.)

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