The forecast calls for temperatures in the 50s next week, but the cold and snow this weekend can serve as a reminder to prepare for colder weather before it's here to stay.
Jada McClintick with St. Joseph Emergency Management encourages residents to take time to prep and put essentials in your vehicle.
“Throw in a blanket, some extra gloves, water, granola bars, just in case… you get off the road or get stuck in traffic, something like that,” McClintick says. “It’s good to have a flashlight, you don’t have to have a flare or anything, just a flashlight, something that could get people’s attention too if you’re commuting early in the morning when it’s still dark out and you go off the road you want to be able to signal up to the road to get help out to you.”
McClintick also encourages having something like kitty litter or rock salt in your car in case you get stuck.
St. Joseph Police Chief Chris Connally says it’s a good time of year to winterize your vehicle and check your tires, antifreeze levels and windshield wiper fluid. Connally says he encourages motorists to keep their gas tanks at least half full as he remembers a couple years ago when motorists were stuck on the road for hours because of icy conditions.
“If you didn’t have a lot of fuel, you wouldn’t be able to keep your car running and I recall the Highway Patrol having to go up and down the side to bring people with medical needs... people that are diabetic that needed insulin, things of that nature,” Connally says. “They were there for hours. Being in a situation like that, you want to be prepared, you want to have that extra blanket if you run out of fuel, you’ll want to have some water… some snacks, those kind of things.”
And don’t forget about preparing your furry family members too. St. Joseph Animal Shelter Humane Educator Jennifer Lockwood says to have your pets indoors if possible during the winter.
“Make sure that if your pet spends time outside that they have fresh food and water… it helps to keep them warm. Make sure to protect their little paws from salt if you take your dogs on a walk and you’ve put some salt down - they make pet friendly salts you can put down so it won’t irritate them. Also, just avoiding antifreeze leaks or anything like that, making sure that all your antifreeze is up (as) it’s deadly to pets.”
Lockwood also reminds motorists to keep an eye out and give a knock on the hood of your vehicle in the mornings as some feral cats like to find shelter there during colder weather.
For more winter safety tips for pets, click here.