BENTON COUNTY, WA - Benton County Emergency Services says people in the area should expect potentially dangerous weather this weekend.
The coldest temperatures of the season are due to arrive in the Mid-Columbia Friday night. The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Warning for several counties in Eastern Washington for 7 PM on Friday through 10 AM Saturday. With the wind chill, it will feel like 20 to 25 degrees below zero outdoors.
To protect yourself from the cold weather, emergency responders have provided the following advice.
Check the heat in your house as soon as possible, turn on the furnace and make sure it's in good working order.
Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy, since house fires become more common as people turn on space heaters and wood stoves.
Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors. Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your home because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Never place space heaters close to flammable objects, such as drapes or bedding or on top of furniture or near water.
Check to make sure garden hoses are disconnected from faucets outside your home. Wrap pipes, especially those near cold outer walls or in attics or crawl spaces.
Learn how to shut off water valves, in case a pipe bursts.
Get rock salt or sand for traction on ice.
Make sure your pets have adequate shelter. Take them indoors, do not leave them out in the cold.
It's also important to prepare your vehicles for cold weather. Fill your gas tank before the snow falls. Check antifreeze levels, the heater and defroster, tires, brakes and exhaust system. Talk to your favorite mechanic if you have questions.
Create an emergency kit for your car, even if you're not going far. Include non-perishable food, blankets, warm clothing, snow shovel, sand for traction, a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
If you plan to travel this weekend into next week, be prepared for winter driving conditions. Dial 5-1-1 before you leave to check your route for any road closures. Make sure you know about any restrictions, such as carrying tire chains.
Prepare yourself and your loved ones when you go outdoors. Dress in several light layers, instead of one heavy one, and wear appropriate footwear, a hat and mittens. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia, which include slurred speech, disorientation, uncontrollable shivering and drowsiness. Don't forget your pets. They get cold as well.