Posts Tagged ‘snow’

Three Storms: The Perfect Storm?

April 21, 2011

Extreme weather has affected three states in as many regions of the United States.  In the East Coast, North Carolina was hit by a tornado, while Texas wildfires scorched the Southwest, and a cold snap in the Midwest caused snow to fall in Michigan.  The tornado in North Carolina killed twenty-two people and damaged or destroyed more than 800 homes.  Meanwhile, wildfires have scorched Texas for days, consuming over a million acres and making the situation critical in the Lone Star State.  So far, 110 homes have been destroyed and hundreds more could be threatened.  In Michigan, record-breaking snow fell this April, bringing about seven to nine inches of wet, heavy snow, which has bent trees, snapped power lines and shut down schools throughout the Wolverine State.

April 2011 has been marked by extreme weather. Tornadoes ravaged North Carolina and the southeastern United States. A springtime snowfall has covered Michigan and the Midwest. Wildfires have scorched Texas. Is the country in the eye of the perfect storm?Can the tornado, wildfire and snowfall be related to one storm?  I believe that these storms could be related.  The cold front from the north can send tornadoes ripping throughout other regions.  April 2011 is said to go down as a record month for tornadoes.  The heavy drought in Texas may be due to the same cold front headed towards the east instead of the south, resulting in the spread of wildfires throughout the state.  The best thing you can do to prepare for these natural disasters is to have safety kits in your house and an emergency plan.  Don’t forget to set aside food and water that will last for at least two weeks.

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Taylor P.

 

How to Drive in Snowy and Icy Conditions

February 11, 2010

As I watch the news about the recent snowstorms that have struck the East Coast, I wondered how people could manage to drive on snow-covered or icy roads.

Follow these tips if you must drive in snowy or icy conditions.Obviously, if possible, just stay home and avoid driving in such conditions.  Make use of public transportation as well, provided that services have not been shut down.  If you must drive in snowy conditions, however, follow the tips in the owner’s manual of your car specific to your vehicle as well as the following:

Driving safely on icy roads

  1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop.  You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  2. Brake gently to avoid skidding.  If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  3. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  4. Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  5. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  6. Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  7. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first.  Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  8. Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks.  The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  9. Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions.  Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

Read more on weather.com.

By the way, the YouTube video, below, show what you should not do when driving on icy and snow-covered roads.

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Francis M. Unson

How Electric Blankets Work

January 7, 2010

Even though we live in Sunny Southern California and can get by dressing in multiple layers, we should not forget the people who live in places where ice and snow are the norm during the month of January.  How exactly do our friends and relatives that live in more frigid climes keep warm?  Hopefully, they are making use of an electric blanket.  How do these comforting modern marvels work?  A website gives an explanation, seen below.

An electric blanket consists of heating coils in the form of insulated wires sewn into the inner fabric.  Arranging the wires in rows, a sensor called a rheostat stabilizes internal temperatures.  The sensor measures two things: 1) the temperature of the blanket and 2) body temperature.  Using both sets of data, the sensor sets the heating process, assuring the even distribution of heat across the entire blanket.  Some blankets come with an adjustable rheostat controller that is separate from the blanket.

Electric Blanket

Electric Blanket

Electric blankets come in various configurations: beneath the blanket or over existing blankets, often in lieu of existing bed sheet; preheating blankets that warm the bed prior to use and must be disconnected later; and all-night blankets that can stay on.  Safe storage of electric blankets ensures that their interior structure is not damaged.  Older blankets should be checked by the manufacturers of the blanket or an electrician every three years.

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Francis M. Unson