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Editorial: Prepare for blast of cold

Bundle up before you head out to work today, as temperatures are going to be among the coldest so far this winter season.

The National Weather Service and weather watchers spent much of Monday explaining the cold front that was headed for our area. Frigid temperatures this morning aren't going to get much better throughout the day. The National Weather Service says that subzero wind chill temperatures expected this morning will persist, with the high temperature expected to be only in the teens. Winds from the west of 15 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph, will make the wind chill as much as 15 below.

Extreme cold weather brings with it all sorts of headaches, from the possibility of frostbite for those who venture out unprepared to wrestling with vehicles reluctant to start.

To combat the cold, make sure that you dress in layers, and a hat, mittens and scarf are essential clothing accessories today. Don't forget to cover your face as well. Limit your time outdoors, and that is especially true for those who have to work outside in these conditions.

For autos, the cold can mean dead batteries or other problems. And if your battery is in really bad condition, you likely won't even be able to jump start it this morning.

Once you do get ready to head out, it is probably a good idea to throw some extra warm clothes or a blanket in the back just in case. It is always better to be prepared.

In a press release, State Highway Administration Administrator Melinda Peters said, "The greatest impact to motorists will be slick or even icy conditions on what appears to be just wet pavement - so staying alert and slowing down will be critical for your safety and [that of] others."

High winds could also be a factor and instantly freeze moisture on trees and power wires, the SHA said. Motorists are urged to pay close attention to the road ahead and to be prepared to alter routes and plans in the event of downed trees, large tree branches or wires.

The cold is supposed to ease out of the area by Wednesday, but the high temperatures are still only expected to reach into the upper 20s. The wind will be lighter though, so that will help make it seem a whole lot warmer.

We still have a long winter ahead, so the chances are pretty good that we are going to see more of this type of weather before spring. Make sure that you are prepared, and take some extra precautions to ensure your safety when the temperatures dip to subzero levels.

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