BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — It’s not often Panhandle residents see weather this cold, so some might not be familiar with winter weather preps.
The main things they need to know all begin with the letter “P.”
With two nights of sub-freezing temperatures across the Panhandle, it’s important to remember the five P’s: plants, pets, pipes, practicing fire safety and people.
“Individuals that usually sleep outside need to find another place to sleep and sleep indoors because that’s going to be detrimental to them and possibly could end up with hypothermia,” News 13 Chief Meteorologist, Ross Whitley said. “So they might need medical attention if they are left outside and unattended.”
There are no cold shelters in our area this year due to COVID but Matrix Community Outreach Center Executive Director, Candy Nowling, said they are helping people who meet their requirements on a case-by-case basis.
The organization is placing qualified people in hotels or transporting them to areas with cold-weather shelters.
“The qualifications are technically someone who is homeless, and that means they are without any shelter whatsoever, out on the street, they have no means of transportation to get anywhere, they have no family, no friends, they’re not in this area, but they’re maybe from somewhere else and they’ve been stranded here,” Nowling said.
If you’re going to be outside, it’s important to dress in layers and while you’re at it, cover your plants with another layer too.
“If you’re growing sensitive vegetation that can be killed by freezing temperatures, you’re going to have to cover those up and if possible you want to move them inside,” Whitley said.
And don’t forget about your pipes — especially any backflow devices.
“If you have beach noodles, something like that you can cut that noodle, wrap it around the pipe and then take electrical tape or duct tape something that will hold it through the night and that’s going to act as insulation to help keep those pipes from being able to freeze,” Whitley said.
Lastly, practicing fire safety is critical. If you’re using an electric heater, Whitley said you need to keep an eye on it.
“Especially if you have an old space heater or electric heater, those are the ones that don’t have fail-safes and temperature gages in them to regulate if they get too hot so you may not even need the heater to fall over or anything like that – if you run it for seven hours to heat up a room that you’re not in, then that might overheat and catch the surrounding area on fire,” Whitley said.
The cold air isn’t just hitting our area, the whole state will be pretty chilly this weekend. Whitley said temperatures this low only happen about once a decade.
For more information on Matrix COC and their services, you can call them at (850) 892-1090.