As I write this, it is a sunny 43° here in Levittown.*+ I went without a coat today and even had my windows down as I drove home during my lunch break. Of course, this is Mother Nature’s greatest trick: Setting aside a day or two here and there during the winter to fool us into believing that we are safe…before ultimately slamming us with weather so brutal our bodies ache from just stepping outside.
As Long Islanders, we know how dramatically the weather can change from one day to the next or even from one hour to the next. Last winter, it seemed like the snow would never end and we would have to live with wet socks and cold fingers for eternity. Let’s also not forget Hurricane Sandy, which taught us many important lessons, two of which are that meteorologists are in fact sometimes right and that it is important to be prepared for any emergency. This is why it is a smart idea to begin readying our homes and automobiles (not to mention our physical and emotional selves) for the potentially hazardous conditions to come.
I am not a homeowner, so I cannot begin to imagine all of the steps that need to be taken to keep a home safe and warm during the winter. I know a few things: Make sure you have plenty of batteries, flashlights, and candles; get your furnace serviced; hire a professional chimney sweep if you have and use a fireplace; and stock up on shovels, rock salt and nonperishable food. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has some great tips on how to “winterize” your home and car. Also pay attention to their advice on traveling during inclement weather; please keep yourself, your families, and our first responders safe this season and only travel during times of extreme weather when it is absolutely necessary. Do yourself a favor and also take a look at the CDC’s Winter Weather Frequently Asked Questions, which gives information on how to best handle a scary situation: getting stranded in cold weather. Formulate a plan for yourself, stock it away in your mental filing cabinet, and hope that you never have to use it.
When it comes to our automobiles, it’s important to have everything running in tiptop shape before icy roads and cold temperatures push our poor cars to their breaking points. I cannot stress the importance of good tires; it’s amazing how much better a car will run when its tires are at the proper pressures. MSNBC contributor Laura T. Coffey has put together a list of ten great tips to get your car ready for the winter, and I recommend that you add them to your Winter To Do Checklist.
Let’s batten down the hatches and have a safe winter! As always, you can call or stop by the LPL and one of our fantastic librarians can help you find more information on how to “winterize” your life.
Next week, we’ll be discussing how we can occupy our minds during the long, cold days that we will be stuck inside our homes.
Happy Reading (And stay safe!),
*As I finish this post three days later, it is just a tad chilly outside: 29° and lightly snowing. Oh, the fickleness of Long Island weather!
+As I finally post this on Thursday, December 11th, we are in the wake of the first snowfall of the season and a torrential rainstorm that caused a downed pole and power outage here at the LPL. Need I say more about being prepared for unpredictable weather?