ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
48°
Clear
H 65° L 46°
  • cloudy-day
    48°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 65° L 46°
  • clear-day
    65°
    Today
    Clear. H 65° L 46°
  • cloudy-day
    69°
    Tomorrow
    Partly Cloudy. H 69° L 42°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Health
Blizzard 2013: Preparation and getting through it
Close

Blizzard 2013: Preparation and getting through it

Blizzard 2013: Preparation and getting through it
Photo Credit: Seth Perlman
A miniature Schnauzer named Seamus joins Charlie Yockey as he finishes building a snowman on Jan. 1, 2013 in Springfield, Ill. A major snowstorm was predicted for the Northeast on the first weekend of February. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Blizzard 2013: Preparation and getting through it

The major blizzard predicted to hit the Northeast and New England on Friday may dump as much as 2 feet of snow from New York City to Maine, the National Weather Service predicts. Winds may gust to 75 miles per hour.

If history repeats, major power outages, treacherous roads, and downed power lines are expected.

WebMD reached out to emergency experts and public health officials for information on blizzard preparation and getting through the blizzard safely.

Q: What should I do now to prepare?

Food and Water: Gather extra food and water. Get high-energy foods such as dried fruits, granola bars, and nuts, as well as food products that do not need to be cooked or refrigerated.

Get bottled water. Store it in a place you can get to easily.

Medications: Assemble medications you need on a daily basis. Put them in a backpack or easy-to-carry kit in case you need to evacuate.

Power: Have flashlights and fresh batteries available and other battery-powered items, such as radios, ready to use if the power fails.

Other: Update your list of emergency contacts.

If weather permits, go to the hardware or home improvement store for supplies, such as fresh batteries or a roof rake if you do not have one. A roof rake is designed to remove heavy snowfall from roofs and comes with a long extension. It could possibly keep you from climbing onto the roof.

Get an ice melting product to apply to slippery sidewalks.

Q: Do I need to take any precautions before shoveling snow?

Consider your heart health before deciding. The risk of a heart attack while snow shoveling may rise for some, especially those with existing heart disease, a history of stroke, or those in poor physical condition.

If you are at risk, let someone else do it.

If you can't find anyone, take precautions. Take frequent breaks. Don't eat a heavy meal right before or right after shoveling. Don't drink alcohol right before or right after shoveling. Use a small shovel.

Q: How do I prevent hypothermia/frostbite? What are the signs of frostbite?

Dress as warmly as possible. Know that it can come on quickly.  Recognize the first symptoms, such as a white or pale appearance in the toes, fingers, ear lobes, or the tip of the nose.

If you suspect frostbite, get medical help right away. Get to a warm area right away and remove any wet clothing. If that is not possible right away, warm the affected areas using body heat, such as by placing frostbitten fingers in your underarm.

If you are showing signs of a dangerously low body temperature, known as hypothermia -- shivering uncontrollably, slurring speech, having memory loss -- your body core (not arms and legs) should be warmed first. Get medical help ASAP.

Q: Once the power is out, how long will refrigerated foods last?

Refrigerated foods, once the power is off, will stay cold for about four to six hours. To increase the time, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed.

If a freezer is full, the temperature will be maintained for about 48 hours. If it's half full of food, figure 24 hours.

Q: What foods should be eaten first, after power is off?

Start by eating leftovers, meat, poultry, and any foods with milk, cream, soft cheese, or sour cream.

If frozen foods still contain ice crystals, they may still be safely cooked and eaten (or re-frozen, if power is restored).

Fruits that were frozen can be eaten if they still taste and smell good.

Vegetables that are completely thawed shouldn't be eaten, since bacteria multiply quickly.

If meat or poultry has thawed and has been warmer than 40 degrees F for two hours, discard it.

Discard melted ice cream.

Some foods typically refrigerated keep at room temperature for a few days. Among them: butter, margarine, hard cheese, fresh fruit, and vegetables (except sprouts or fresh, sliced fruit), fruit juice, dried fruits, or coconut. Opened jars of vinegar-based salad dressing, jelly, relishes, taco sauce, and barbecue sauce are typically also OK to eat. Mustard, ketchup, and olives generally keep at room temperature for a few days, too.

Q: Can I put food from the refrigerator and freezer out in the snow?

That's not safe. Frozen food can thaw if it is exposed to the sun's rays. That can happen even if the outside temperatures are very cold.

Q: What precautions do I need to take for medications that need refrigeration, such as insulin or reconstituted drugs?

If power has been out for a lengthy period, throw them out. However, if you have no way to obtain new supplies and the medicine is crucial, such as insulin, continue to take it until you can get fresh supplies.

Pills that have gotten wet should be discarded, as they could be contaminated.

Q: What about water? If we run out, what supplies can we tap?

Use ice, soft drinks, and fruit juices as water substitutes.

Check hidden sources of water: the hot water tank, or water in the plumbing. These water supplies need to be disinfected, though.

To disinfect by boiling, bring water to a rolling boil for one or two minutes, then cool.  •In an emergency -- if no other water is available -- snow can be melted for water. Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most germs, but won’t get rid of chemicals sometimes found in snow.

Q: What is the best way to stay warm if there is a power outage?

Close off the unneeded rooms to preserve heat as much as possible. Stuff rags or towels in the cracks under your doors.

If you are using a fireplace or wood stove, be sure to ventilate it properly.

Dress in layers of loose-fitting but warm and lightweight clothing that you can add on or take off as needed.

Q: Is it OK to use a portable generator?

Generators should only be operated outdoors, as carbon monoxide can build up and cause lethal poisoning if used indoors. Only use the generator in a dry outdoor location, which may be impossible in the winter storm's aftermath.

Q:  How do I protect vulnerable family members, such as children and the elderly?

Remember that both the very young and the elderly, as well as nursing mothers, will need more water to stay hydrated.

You may need to soothe your children's fears. Keep your children to their regular routine as much as possible. Kids come to depend on those daily routines such as dinnertime.

Q: I am a shut-in. Who do I reach out to for help?

Check in with nearby neighbors or your family members to see if they can help you. Your local fire department may also be able to offer aid.

''Blizzard boxes" with nonperishable foods are sometimes available from local churches and the Meals on Wheels program.

Q: When is it safe to go outside?

Turn to local alerts and warning systems to get information and expert advice on conditions. Then decide if it is safe, based on that advice.

SOURCES: Kristin Devoe, spokesperson, New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.National Weather Service: "Winter Storms: The Deceptive Killers."USDA: "Emergency Preparedness."New York State Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Services: "Winter Safety Tips."CDC: "Winter Weather Checklists."American Heart Association: "Winter Weather Tips for Cardiac Patients."Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: "Winter Wellness."

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

News

  • A Gwinnett County family is trying to make sense of the murder of their husband and father outside their home in a Buford subdivision overnight Thursday. The victim, identified as 43-year-old George Young, was shot dead right outside his own front door. He had just come home from working a security job and his keys were still in the front door when he was shot twice. “I heard two loud gunshots,” says his wife Tia. “At first, I thought it was gunshots, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I wasn’t sure if it was firecrackers.” Her brother, who was asleep on the couch, heard it too. He opened the door to find Young lying on the front porch. “I never heard a car speed off. My brother didn’t either,” says Tia. Gwinnett Police detectives told the woman it does not appear to have been a robbery. “We don’t know where the gunshots came from--whether they came from the porch or came from the street. But our ultimate motive, right now, is to figure out what other people heard,” says Cpl. Michele Pihera. She is asking anyone with information to come forward to police. Tia and her husband had been married close to 23 years and she wonders how she will continue alone raising their three sons. “I lost my dad a few years back to suicide, and I didn’t think it could any worse. But losing a spouse like this, I think it tops that,” she says.
  • His book called gay people 'vile.' Now, a federal judge says she may rule within the next month whether the city of Atlanta fired its fire chief over his religious views.  Kelvin Cochran lost his job in January of 2015, after self-publishing the book 'Who Told You That You Were Naked?' It includes passages that referred to homosexuality as 'vile, vulgar and inappropriate' and akin to 'bestiality.' When concern was raised about the book in late November 2014, Cochran was suspended for 30 days. His lawyer, Kevin Theriot, contends the chief was punished for his religious faith, but attorneys for the city argued that it was Cochran's actions during his suspension while an investigation was underway that got him ousted. City lawyer David Gevertz pointed out that Cochran had been directed to not make public comments about his suspension, but instead helped launch a PR campaign with the Georgia Baptist Convention that resulted in thousands of angry e-mails being sent to City Hall. 'We did not fire Chief Cochran because of his religious beliefs,' said Atlanta Chief Counsel Robert Godfrey. 'It was about trust. It was about his campaign to have people contact the mayor and things like that afterwards.' Theriot contends that Mayor Kasim Reed's public statements and social media posts contradict that, including one in which Reed made clear that he did not share the anti-gay views expressed in Cochran's book. The lawsuit points out that there were 'zero instances of discrimination' by Cochran against any employees, and so Theriot says the rest of what the city says is a pretext. 'There are a few isolated passages that they take out of context to try to depict Chief as being hateful, when in fact, Chief Cochran's beliefs require him to treat everybody equally--and the only evidence before the court is that what he always did,' says Theriot. Theriot acknowledged that some copies of Cochran's book were given to men on the job, but he insists they were from people who asked for it and/or shared similar beliefs as the chief. Gevertz pointed out in court that the book created a hostile work environment and could leave the city open to lawsuits from disgruntled employees or unsuccessful candidates once the views of Cochran, a member of the mayor's cabinet, were known publicly. Cochran's lawsuit seeks back pay after his suspension and termination, as well as reinstatement. He has also filed a separate complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Cochran says his childhood dream was to become a fire chief, and he says the discrimination and racial slurs experienced in his early years working in Louisiana combined to make him vow that if he were ever in a position of authority, no one would face discrimination because they were a minority under his leadership. Yet, he says, that is why the city terminated him. 'I was shocked that writing a book encouraging Christian men to be the husbands and fathers and men that God had called us to be would jeopardize my 34-year career,' said Cochran on Friday. 'It's still unthinkable to me that the very faith and patriotism that inspired my professional achievements and drove me to treat all people with love, equity, and justice, are actually what the government used to end my childhood dream-come-true career. 'In the United States of America, true tolerance should be a two-way street for all Americans,' Cochran continued. 'No one deserves to be marginalized or driven out of their profession because of their faith.' U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May grilled lawyers on both sides with questions about the cases they cited in support of their arguments, and says she will write a detailed analysis and likely issue a ruling in about three weeks. The attorneys are seeking summary judgment, meaning they are asking the judge to decide the case. If she cannot rule on every issue raised, says Judge May, the Cochran case will go to trial on the ones she cannot resolve, putting the questions in the hands of a jury. A trial would likely be held next spring. Any jury pool will likely include some people like Tonya Ditty, who tells WSB that she has been a longtime supporter of Cochran since the case began in 2014. She attended Friday's hearing and says she was also at a rally at the state Capitol for him. Ditty says she is concerned about 'the trampling of religious rights,' no matter what religion. 'When our Founders wrote the Bill of Rights, they did not pick a religion,' says Ditty. 'This is fitting for everyone. I think that often is said that, 'Oh, the Christians just want protection.' This is for any religion. I don't think it's ever been stated that we are trying just to protect Christians.' Ditty, who says she is a Christian, says people of faith are being stifled. 'I either have to live out my faith in church or in my home, but dare me come out into the marketplace of ideas, and then I'm under attack,' she says.
  • A guitar owned by rock ’n’ roll legend Eddie Van Halen worth more than $100,000 was recovered Friday, hours after it was stolen from a Hard Rock Cafe in San Antonio, Texas, KSAT reported. >> Read more trending news The guitar, nicknamed “Frankenstrat,” had been reported stolen around 1 a.m. Friday. It was returned later in the day, but it is unclear how the restaurant was able to retrieve the instrument. According to San Antonio police, someone walked in a side door of the Hard Rock Cafe and took the red, white and black guitar off the wall, and then exited the building. An employee noticed the guitar was missing after the Hard Rock Cafe closed, police said. The Frankenstrat guitar was one of several that Van Halen had custom built for him during his career, the San Antonio Express reported.  Van Halen is considered one of the most influential guitarists in the history of rock music. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Van Halen eighth on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
  • A priest who wasn't allowed to preach instead turned his ears and heart to the needy. Now, decades after his death, Solanus Casey is on a path to sainthood, celebrated as an incredibly humble man who brought people to God.Father Solanus, as he was known, will be beatified Saturday at a Mass attended by 65,000 people at a stadium in Detroit where he spent much of his ministry. Pope Francis said he met the requirements to earn the title of 'blessed,' especially after a woman from Panama was instantly cured of a chronic skin disease while she prayed at his tomb in 2012.Father Solanus can be made a saint in the years ahead if a second miracle is attributed to him. He'll be only the second U.S.-born man to be beatified by the Roman Catholic Church, joining the Rev. Stanley Rother, a priest killed in Guatemala's civil war, who was beatified in Oklahoma in September.One U.S.-born woman has been beatified and two others have been declared saints.'It's a great event,' Archbishop Allen Vigneron, who leads the southeastern Michigan church, said of the honor for Father Solanus. 'It's hard to communicate how vivid and real the presence of Father is to our community.'Even 60 years after his death, 'people don't say, 'I'm going to Father's tomb,'' Vigneron told The Associated Press. 'They say, 'I'm going to talk to Father.''Father Solanus, a native of Oak Grove, Wisconsin, joined the Capuchin religious order in Detroit in 1897 and was ordained a priest seven years later. But there were conditions: Because of academic struggles, he was prohibited from giving homilies at Mass and couldn't hear confessions.'He accepted it,' said the Rev. Martin Pable, 86, a fellow Capuchin. 'He believed whatever God wants, that's what he would do.'He served for 20 years in New York City and nearby Yonkers before the Capuchins transferred him back to the St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit in 1924. Wearing a traditional brown hooded robe and sandals, Father Solanus worked as a porter or doorkeeper for the next two decades, but his reputation for holiness far exceeded his modest title.The unemployed shared their anxieties with Father Solanus, the parents of wayward kids sought his advice, and the ill and addicted asked him to urge God to heal them. As he listened, he took notes that were later turned into typewritten volumes of his work.Later in life, when Father Solanus was stationed at a seminary in Huntington, Indiana, Detroiters boarded buses for a four-hour ride just to see the man with a wispy white beard. Mail piled up from across the country.'He had a gentle presence. He left people with a wonderful feeling of peace inside their hearts,' Pable said. 'He would say, 'Let's just pray about this and see what God wants to do.' Some people were not healed. He told them to bear their problems with God's help.'Father Solanus, who died in 1957, also co-founded the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, which serves up to 2,000 meals a day to Detroit's poor.The Capuchins built a center that bears his name and explains his life story. The public is invited to pray and leave handwritten pleas atop his tomb. Father Solanus' name is invoked by many people who attend a weekly service for the sick.Shirley Wilson, 78, said she regularly prayed to Father Solanus to help her nephew get a kidney. He got one a few weeks ago.'It was a perfect match,' she said. 'I believe in miracles.'Vigneron hopes Father Solanus will inspire people to show mercy toward others.'We need to care for the poor and give them a high priority,' the archbishop said. 'Father was very loving and understanding to people who came to him with their troubles.'___Follow Ed White at https://twitter.com/edwhiteapA priest who dedicated himself to helping others is on a path to sainthood decades after his death.Solanus Casey, known as Father Solanus, will be beatified Saturday at a Mass attended by 65,000 people at a stadium in Detroit, the city where he spent much of his ministry.Pope Francis said Father Solanus met the requirements to earn the title of 'blessed,' especially after a woman from Panama was cured of a skin disease while she prayed at his tomb in 2012.Father Solanus can be made a saint in the years ahead if a second miracle is attributed to him.Barred from giving homilies because of academic struggles, he dedicated himself to helping the poor and counseling people with emotional and health problems. He died in 1957.
  • Members of a Florida church congregation will not turn the other cheek to those who might wish them harm. >> Read more trending news They are armed and ready to retaliate. That is according to a sign outside the River of Tampa Bay Church in Tampa, which warns in all capital letters that the sanctuary “is not a gun-free zone.” The sign continues with a deadly warning: “We are heavily armed -- any attempt will be dealt with deadly force. Yes we are a church and we will protect our people.” It is signed by “The Pastors.” The sign at the 21-year-old church was erected about a year ago, Associated Pastor Allen Hawes told The Tampa Bay Times. However, the warning drew more attention when Senior Pastor Rodney Howard Browne posted a photo of it on his Instagram account. The minister was responding to the deadly church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in which 26 people were killed and 20 more were injured. “It is a deterrent,' Hawes told the Times. “Look at what is going on. In the past two months, look at what happened in Texas. Look at what happened in Las Vegas. Because we are a church that is on television, we are very involved in the community. We want people to know that this is a safe zone.” Hawes has a concealed weapons permit and said his congregation of nearly 1,200 people has “many armed members” ready to use force if necessary. “If you walk through the door with the intention to harm, that sign serves as a deterrent to you,' Hawes told the Times. 'We are not a soft target. People here will defend their families.” Hawes said his congregation is also paying close attention to the string of four unsolved murders recently in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa. 'I think just collectively, we pay very close attention,' he said. 'Look at Seminole Heights. Someone is murdering people. This stuff is happening all the time. Do you wait for another shooting to take precautions?
  • New York SoundCloud rapper Lil Peep — whose real name was Gustav Åhr — passed away on Wednesday at the age of 21. He was reportedly found in an unresponsive state by his manager on his tour bus, according to The Guardian. >> Read more trending news In a video posted on Instagram just a few hours before his death, he said he had consumed some prescription drugs as well as some other substances, saying: “I’m good, I’m not sick.” In the wake of the young artist’s untimely death, tributes poured in from fans and peers alike. “I am shocked and heartbroken,” said Sarah Sennett — the CEO of First Access Entertainment, a management company that represented Lil Peep last — in a statement released on Twitter. “I do not believe Peep wanted to die, this is so tragic. He had big goals and dreams for the future which he had shared with me, his team, his family and his friends. He was highly intelligent, hugely creative, massively charismatic, gentle and charming. He had huge ambition and his career was flourishing.” Fellow rapper Post Malone said Åhr was “a great friend to me and a great person. your music changed the world and it’ll never be the same.” EDM composer Diplo wrote on Twitter that Åhr “had so much more to do man he was constantly inspiring me,” and fellow producer Marshmello said, “We were just talking last week about working on a song together and now you’re gone. You will be missed, R.I.P.” British pop stars Charlie XCX and Sam Smith also shared their sympathies: