Tag Archives: winter

This guide can help you prepare for severe winter weather

The official start of winter — December 21 — is not that far away. Are you and your family prepared for cold temperatures and winter storms?

After all, South Carolina isn’t immune to severe winter weather. That’s a fact that’s pointed out in the South Carolina Severe Weather Guide produced by the South Carolina Emergency Management Division and the State Emergency Response Team.

The guide offers important information to help you prepare for winter weather. It provides tips on what you should know about snow and ice, what steps to take before, during and after a storm, emergency information, winter check lists and more.

Winter storms and cold weather can be hazardous. Be sure you are prepared.

Click here to download the Severe Winter Weather Guide.

DHEC in the News: World Aids Day, Supermoon, flu

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

New HIV prevention program launched in time for World AIDS Day

Every month in South Carolina, 66 people are diagnosed with HIV or AIDS.

With nearly 19,000 South Carolinians infected with HIV or AIDS, the state ranks eighth nationally in the rate of AIDS cases and 10th in HIV cases.

So as people around the globe mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, state health officials have launched an initiative to reduce the number of new infections through better health care and prevention.

Called “Stop the Epidemics,” the effort also targets sexually transmitted diseases and Hepatitis C, which has tripled in the past five years, with millennials making up the fastest growing group of those infected.

General Interest

Supermoon coming to South Carolina skies Sunday; meteor shower in mid-December

Up in the sky on Sunday will shine the year’s only Supermoon. The skies should be mostly clear. The full moon could bring flood tides.

A week later, the heavens will blaze with a Geminid meteor shower. In the midst of the shower, NASA astronaut and Citadel graduate Randy Bresnik returns to Earth.

Supermoons are full moons that appear larger than usual because they arrive when the full moon is at perigee, or a point closest to earth in its oval-shaped orbit.

Australia’s flu season has US health officials bracing for a bad winter, and wishing for a new vaccine

The flu season is just getting underway in North America, but if Australia’s experience with influenza is any guide, we’re in for a miserable winter.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned Wednesday that the United States could experience a “relatively severe influenza season.” If so, it would extend a run of bad luck that began in 2014, when the available flu vaccines proved to be a poor match for the most common viruses in circulation.

Be prepared for winter weather

With snow predicted for parts of South Carolina Saturday, now is a good time to remember to prepare for winter weather. Winter storms and cold temperatures can be hazardous. The best way to stay safe and healthy is to plan ahead and prepare your homes and cars for possible bad weather.

Snowfall, ice storms and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. Even areas that normally experience mild winters can be hit with an ice storm or extreme cold. If you are prepared, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.

Take precautions

Here are some tips from the SC Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help in your preparation:

  • Include winter supplies like shovels and rock salt in your household emergency kit.
  • Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.
  • Stock food that needs no cooking or refrigeration and water stored in clean containers.
  • Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
  • Portable generators are commonly used in the winter as a result of storm-induced power outages. Carbon monoxide fumes are odorless and deadly. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to prevent death from carbon monoxide.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
  • Chimneys should be cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Have your vehicle serviced to ensure it is prepared for the winter season.
  • In every vehicle, place a winter emergency kit that includes: a shovel; windshield scraper and small broom; flashlight; battery-powered radio; extra batteries; water; snack food; matches; extra hats, socks and mittens; first aid kit with a pocket knife; medications; blankets; tow chain or rope; road salt and sand; booster cables; emergency flares; and a fluorescent distress flag.
  • When outdoor wear appropriate outdoor clothing: a tightly woven, preferably wind-resistant coat or jacket; inner layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
  • Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories. If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.

Watch out for family and friends

Above all, be ready to check on family and neighbors who are especially at risk from cold weather hazards: young children, older adults and the chronically ill. Bring pets inside. If you can’t bring them inside, be sure they have adequate, warm shelter and unfrozen water to drink.

Download SCEMD’s Severe Winter Weather Guide. Also, visit the CDC’s website for more information about staying safe and healthy in the winter.