This weekend will definitely feel like winter with lows in the teens and day time temperatures in the 30’s. Check out our Residents Handbook for Natural Disasters (check out page 25, 36, and 83 for winter weather related content) and see below some updates from Pam Knox, UGA Weather Network Director.
The chance of snow or other wintry weather is not high, but the likelihood for temperatures as much as 30 degrees below normal is real and dangerous. It has been cold this week, but highs this weekend could be no higher than the lows this week. The wind will make it feel even colder. This is not a historically cold outbreak, but because of warming winters we have not experienced such low temperatures for several years, so it will feel worse than usual.
Impacts from the extreme cold will be significant for most of us and you need to prepare now to deal with those cold conditions, especially in more northern areas. If you have pets, plan to bring them inside. The frigid temperatures are going to cause agricultural losses to young trees and plants in some areas, especially in the northern part of the state where it will be coldest. If you have crops like strawberries, they are likely to need to be covered unless they are fully hardened off. Here is an article from NC State Extension on what to do to protect strawberries from the cold conditions they may experience. Livestock could be affected because they are not acclimatized to such cold conditions, so make sure they have access to shelter from the wind as well as water and feed. Young calves would be especially susceptible to the cold and windy conditions, if that is happening on your farm.
If you are traveling, you will need to be especially aware of impending weather conditions along your route to your final destination. If driving, make sure that you have a winter emergency supply kit in your car. Watch the forecasts carefully and stay regularly updated, since changes to the forecast are likely. Don’t look at the forecast today and assume it will be the same by the end of the week. Weather apps on cell phones are not updated often enough to be useful, especially in winter conditions. If you are flying, be prepared to experience delays or cancellations since connecting flights may be coming from places that are experiencing worse weather than we are in the Southeast. If you can change your plans, you might wish to consider doing so.
Before you leave, make sure that your pipes can handle the cold weather without freezing or you may find a mess when you return. If you stay home, know how to turn off the water to your house in case your pipes do freeze. Check on your friends and neighbors to make sure they have heat and shelter.
This article was written by Pam Knox, UGA Weather Network Director and shared with permission.
Be sure to check out the plant of the week on our Facebook Page!
Kim Toal, is the Fayette County Extension Coordinator and Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources. For more information on gardening in Fayette County, contact Fayette County Extension at 770-305-5412 or online at www.ugaextension.org/fayette.