From the W.Va. Dept. of Military Affairs and Public Safety:
Temperatures are forecasted to plunge well below zero degrees Fahrenheit throughout the state over the next 24 hours, and West Virginians are urged to take precautions. The severe cold and dangerous wind chills bring the threat of hypothermia and frostbite from prolonged exposure. Unsafe efforts to stay warm, meanwhile, can lead to fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Experts advise the following:
- Stay indoors during such extreme winter weather. When venturing outside, it is dress in layers and limit skin exposure.
- If required to travel, make sure your vehicle has a full tank and bring along blankets, extra warm clothing and such gear as a flashlight and ice scraper.
- Check on loved ones and neighbors who are older or disabled. Bring all pets indoors, and make sure animals have both a warm space and ice-free water.
- Stay tuned to local radio, TV or other media for weather updates, or a NOAA weather radio if available.
- Avoid frozen or broken pipes by ensuring plumbing is weatherproofed. Consider turning on a faucet to a trickle – but NEVER leave a faucet running in an empty house. If a pipe bursts, shut off the water supply. Use hot water or a hair dryer to thaw frozen pipes – NEVER an open flame.
- Only rely on space heaters designed for indoor use and that meet the latest safety requirements. Keep a 3-foot space around heaters, and store any fuel properly.
- Make sure you have an emergency kit and a plan for your family to stay in contact in case of a power outage.
- If you are left without heat, contact your local Office of Emergency Services or health department for the location of the nearest warming station or shelter.
The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management plans to provide additional information throughout this weather event.