TN Valley prepares for a bitterly cold week - - The News for South Mississippi

TN Valley prepares for a bitterly cold week

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Keeping warm and safe this week will take more than simply adding layers of clothes. Keeping warm and safe this week will take more than simply adding layers of clothes.

It will take a lot more than just bundling up to stay warm in the frigid weather headed our way.

As temperatures fall into the teens and then dip into the single digits in the coming days, it is safe to say this will be the coldest weather the Tennessee Valley has seen in several years. With snow flurries and possible icy conditions in the forecast, Madison County Emergency Management is urging people to be prepared, especially as the kids head back to school.

Chris Reed with the Madison County EMA said to make sure the kids are dressed in multiple layers. Frostbite or hypothermia can occur when a person stands out in the cold for any length of time.

In the meantime, Huntsville Utilities said its system is prepared to handle high demand, but crews will be ready in case of an outage.

"We don't expect problems... but things can break; we are going to position crews Monday and Tuesday morning around our system, so that they can be rapid-response in the event there are some damages," said Bill Yell.

If the power does go out, the utility company asks that you leave your heating system off for about 15 minutes after it is restored.

As for your pipes, it is very important to protect them, especially because we could go as long as 72 hours with below-freezing temperatures. Experts suggest leaving your cabinet doors open and leaving faucets dripping.

Yell said that on an average eight-hour period, a small stream would consume about five gallons of water at a cost of around 10-15 cents. A small price to pay in comparison to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair costs of broken water lines.

A spokesperson with Huntsville City Schools said cold temperatures alone will not be the cause for class cancellations or delays. However, people will be monitoring the heating systems to make sure they don't stop working over the weekend.

Also worth considering in the wintry conditions:

  • Bring pets inside. If you cannot, make sure they have adequate shelter to stay warm.
  • Make sure your car has a full tank of gas. Check the antifreeze levels and replace any worn tires.
  • Put a winter survival kit in your car.
  • Know the warning signs of hypothermia, including shivering, confusion and drowsiness.

If you have a smartphone or an iPad, you can keep up-to-date with winter weather conditions at any time with the 48 Storm Team Weather App. Alternatively, you can also sign up for forecasts and/or breaking news text messages through's Subscription Center.

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