Get Ready for the ‘Arctic Clipper’: Tips for Safety, Pipes, Food, More

An “arctic clipper,” a severe surge of cold weather from the North Pole, is on its way to Mississippi, and the City of Jackson wants residents to be ready for it.

Robert Miller, the director of the Department of Public Works, led a press conference on Monday, Jan. 28, to address the particular conditions that this cold-weather storm can create.

“The temperature is going to drop throughout the United States much of the United States by about 40 degrees over the next several hours,” Miller said. “We're expecting rain beginning this evening starting by around 9 p.m, and possibly turning to snow early Tuesday morning with precipitation being over by 5 a.m.”

While precipitation will end early morning, falling temperatures will not, and the wind at 10 to 20 miles per hour will create a significant wind chill. Miller explained that his department foresees the wind chill lasting into later Tuesday morning.

“Road conditions will change rapidly,” Miller continued. “We're going to be out on the streets monitoring the condition. We've got employees out spreading a chemical de-icer on intersections where there may be standing water and spreading sand on hills where traditional traction may be needed.”

The Jackson Police Department provided a road-safety precaution: “Fill all necessary vehicles with fuel in advance and pack needed emergency items such as booster cables, extra coats or blankets, medications, snacks and a portable power source for cell-phone communication in the event of an emergency.”

Miller also explained that trash service will be delayed if cold conditions continue. Any recycling scheduled for pickup will be collected the following Saturday.

As for water-main breaks and frozen service lines, a familiar reality for many Jackson residents, Miller gave a few prescriptive notes to help citizens avoid a plumbing disaster. “For folks who have concerns about the possibility of frozen water-service lines, especially those who've had their service lines freeze before, we encourage them to leave the cabinet doors open beneath their kitchen and bathroom sinks.”

Additionally, Miller explained that running a pencil-lead sized stream of water from sinks in residence causes enough of a stream to avoid busted pipes.

Miller told the press that the storm should not last longer than a day so any freezing will be short-lived.

The Mississippi State Department of Health also provided the following tips:

If power is out for less than two hours, food in a refrigerator and freezer will be safe to eat.

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold longer.

After two hours, a freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will keep food safely for 48 hours.

After two hours, pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are excellent for this purpose.

Safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water. Watch for specific boil-water alerts in your area.

Boiling water, when practical, is the preferred way to kill harmful bacteria and parasites. Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most organisms.

Any heater that burns fuel, such as a furnace, generator, gas water heater or a portable butane or gas heater, produces carbon monoxide that can leak into the air. Mild exposure to carbon monoxide can cause nausea, dizziness or headaches. Severe poisoning can result in brain or heart damage, or even death.

To avoid carbon-monoxide poisoning, take the following precautions:

Never burn anything in an unvented stove or fireplace.

Never heat your house with a gas oven.

Never run a generator indoors, in an enclosed space such as a basement, or near a window.

Do not warm your car up in a closed garage.

If your garage is attached to your house, close the door to the home while you warm up the car.

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Email city reporting intern Taylor Langele at taylor@jacksonfreepress.com and follow him on Twitter at @taylor_langele.

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