Winter weather? Pike County officials will be prepared

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Staff Writer

Pike County may not really run the risk of snow and ice storms like our northern neighbors, but there is plenty of reason for concern during winter months.

This week ­ Dec. 3-7 ­ has been proclaimed Winter Weather Awareness Week in Alabama and Pike County Emergency Management Agency Director Larry Davis is working toward preparedness, although the official first day of winter is not until Dec. 21.

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Quoting an old favorite, Davis said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." That is especially true when it comes to weather since one rarely has much time to prepare once the danger is apparent.

Many Alabamians do not think about being impacted by severe winter weather because this is the deep South, but many in the northern part of the state remember the blizzard of March 1993 and the 13 inches of snow that fell during a 24-hour period in the Birmingham area. Other remember the ice storm a couple of years ago.

According to information provided by the National Weather Service office in Calera, one of the most tragic outbreaks of cold weather in Alabama occurred Jan. 10-18, 1982 when 20 people died and 300 were injured. During that time, 16,000 people were forced to see comfort from the storm in emergency shelters and storm damage came to about $78 million.

Alabama was fortunate last winter. Only a couple of storm threats even crossed the weather maps, but they did create some problems for those living in North Alabama.

But, in the southern portion of the state, it is the cold temperatures that can create danger, especially for senior citizens.

"The biggest thing is for the elderly," Davis said.

He urges Pike Countians to "be a good neighbor" and check on the elderly living nearby.

In the event this area does experience a winter storm some tips for being prepared include:

· Checking your supply of heating fuel and prevent fire hazards from fireplaces or other heating sources.

· Getting vehicles winterized and keep water out of your fuel by keeping the tank full. Also carry a winter storm car kit, especially if planning travel in areas that could be affected by winter storms.

· Checking your food supply and stock with items that do not require cooking or refrigeration in case of power failure.

· Making necessary trips for supplies before a storm develops and wear layered, loose-fitting clothing.

· Checking battery powered equipment before a storm arrives because you may have to depend on portable radio or TV for weather information.