LIMA — Natives joke there are four seasons in Ohio: almost winter, winter, still winter and construction. Those in northwest Ohio would argue that’s been a pretty accurate portrayal of Ohio’s weather lately, with temperatures dipping down into the teens and wind chills in the negative range Tuesday.
Most local officials say even though Ohioans are constantly ready for snow and chilly temperatures, the state hasn’t seen temperatures this low in the last few years.
Lonnie Fisher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Northern Indiana, said though wind chills dropped as low as 14 degrees below zero Tuesday morning, the area should be seeing some wind chills closer to the zero mark.
- Wind speeds will stay in the 5 to 10 mph range for the remainder of the week.
- Wind chills will come out of the negative numbers. Until Sunday, we can expect single-digit wind chills above zero during the day and then close to or a little bit below zero at night.
- High temperatures today will be in the mid-teens, climbing a bit higher into Thursday.
- The area should see temperatures in the mid-20s into Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- We should see temperatures above freezing during the day beyond Sunday.
The home front
Mike Caprella, City of Lima Department of Utilities deputy director, said the most common thing his department sees with cold temperatures is frozen water lines. On Tuesday alone, he said the department received 12 calls to aid with frozen water lines. Caprella offers this advice:
- If you discover a frozen water line, immediately call the department, 419-221-5252.
- If the frozen water line is in an unheated area, such as a garage, attempt to heat the area.
- You can attempt to thaw a frozen line with a hair dryer, but never use an open flame.
- Let a little bit of water run overnight if you’ve had problems in the past. If you let it run in a stream about the size of the lead of a pencil, you’re not using too much water, and lines won't freeze.
- Always know where your master shut-off valve is. The entire family should know where it is in case of a water-line break to minimize water damage. It usually comes through the wall near the hot water heater.
Bill Linsenmayer, AAA director of Automotive Services, along with Brian Neely, manager and owner of Elida Road Tire Service, said with cold temperatures, cars need extra attention:
- Tires: For every 10-degree drop in temperature, tires automatically lose one pound of air. Tires normally lose one pound of air per month. This is why most mechanics say to check your tire pressure monthly.
- Windshield Wiper Fluid: When buying windshield wiper fluid, make sure you have one that can withstand cold temperatures. Keep that windshield wiper fluid in your car year-round.
- Battery: Make sure you have a relatively new and charged battery. A battery is harder to start in the winter because when things are colder in an engine, they turn over a lot slower. When a battery is cold, it demands a lot more voltage to start.
- Oil: Be certain you have the oil in your car that is recommended for it. Oil has different types of viscosities that mean different things. You want your oil to flow the same at 0 degrees Celsius as it would at 100 degrees.
- Fuel levels: Always have more than half a tank of gas. For safety’s sake, if you get into an accident or serious situation, you want to have enough to keep you warm. Along with that, the cool temperatures cause some condensation in a fuel tank, causing some of the fuel to freeze.
- Keep blankets, extra clothing, ear muffs, an extra coat, an auto maintenance kit, gloves and an emergency kit in your car.
- Have a good ice scraper. If you don’t feel like scraping your car, get de-icer solution that you can spray on your windshield to melt ice away.
- Power steering can be hard to "wake up" at first. Neely recommended starting your car 10 minutes before you leave to give the fluids time to warm up and be ready to drive.
- Lubricate your door locks, even if you have a remote lock/unlock fob, so they don’t freeze over.
- Check headlights and brake lights to make sure they work.
Linsenmayer said AAA has a mobile battery delivery program. If your battery doesn’t work anymore and you’re a AAA member, call 1-800-AAA-HELP, and someone will come to your location and install a new battery. He said this week, they expect to install 700 batteries.
Becky Dershem, Allen County Health Department director of nursing, said residents should be taking care of themselves with the cooler weather:
- Cover as much skin as possible. Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf so the air you breathe is heated somewhat.
- Dress in layers. Even with socks and gloves, multiple layers are a good thing.
- Stay away from ponds or bodies of water. With the reservoirs and lakes around, ice fishing is never deemed safe.
- Check on elderly neighbors or parents. In any kind of unusual conditions, it’s good to check that the person doesn’t have any issues with his or her heat or have any frozen pipes.
- It’s really individualized when a person will experience hypothermia symptoms. Weather officials say with the latest conditions, it could be as quickly as 30 minutes.
Your pet’s health
Michael Ley, director for the Allen County Humane Society, said it’s important to remember your pets with the falling temperatures:
- If it’s too cold for a human to be outside, it’s too cold for a pet.
- If possible, bring your pet inside or at least into a garage. If that pet is a cat, be cautious because they try to curl up at night near warm fixtures. If that’s in a garage, it will most likely be under the hood of a car, so make sure to check there.
- Don’t shave the coats of the animals during the winter months.
- Brush and examine your pet’s skin in the winter. The snow and ice make different chemicals and salts that may irritate a pet’s skin.
- If your pet is an outdoor pet, make sure the pet has a generous supply of high-protein food. The pet will need to expend more energy to stay warm, so more food is required.
- Check an outdoor pet’s water to make sure it’s not frozen.
- Don’t leave a pet in the car for too long. Like in summer, a car can become like an airtight freezer.
- Face a dog house opening away from the wind.
- Create a door flap. You can use a piece of heavy fabric or old linoleum flooring.
- Elevate the dog house off the ground and insulate it using straw or cedar shavings but not hay.