Monday, February 16, 2015

Episode 253 (2-16-15): “Cold World,” by Kat Mills, for Winter Preparedness and Safety

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:46)

Transcript, photos, and additional notes follow below.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of February 16, 2015.

With a major snowstorm entering the Commonwealth on February 16, we repeat our December 1, 2014, episode on winter preparedness and safety.
This week, a song by a Blacksburg, Va., musician helps remind us that winter’s challenges are inevitably approaching.  Have a listen for about 25 seconds.


You’ve been listening to part of “Cold World,” by Kat Mills, on the 2003 CD “Long Time,” from Sweetcut Music.  The song describes a cold time emotionally, and it’s hard to know when that’s coming.  But there’s no question that by early December in Virginia, cold weather’s coming, so November 30 to December 6 is Virginia’s Winter Preparedness Week.  Here are some tips from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management for staying safe from winter’s hazardous roads, low temperatures, power outages, and fire hazards.

*Try to get to travel destinations before the weather gets bad.  You can get road conditions by phoning 511.

*Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, especially one with a NOAA Weather Radio band.

*Get fireplaces, wood stoves, and chimneys inspected and cleaned.

*Install a smoke detector in every bedroom and on every floor level, and check the batteries regularly.

*If you use space heaters, plug them into wall outlets, not into extension cords; keep heaters at least three feet from other objects; and don’t leave heaters unattended.

*Generators, camp stoves, and charcoal-burning devices should be used outdoors only.

*Use flashlights, not candles, during power outages.

*And make a family emergency plan that includes a meeting place if your family can’t return home; an out-of-town emergency contact; and at least a three-day emergency supply of food, water, and medications.

More information on preparing for severe weather and other emergencies is available online at

Thanks to Kat Mills for permission to use this week’s music, and good luck keeping warm and safe during every winter’s “cold world.”

MUSIC - ~18 sec

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 2/16/15]

Under a winter-storm warning: Virginia Tech campus around noon on February 16, 2015, during the early part of a major Virginia snowstorm.

The makings of a white Thanksgiving and an early-season winter weather advisory: snow falling in Blacksburg, Va., in the early morning of November 26, 2014.
This episode repeats Episode 242 (12-1-14).

“Cold World” and “Long Time” are copyright by Kat Mills and Sweetcut Music, used with permission.  More information about Kat Mills is available online at and at

Sources for this Episode

“Governor McAuliffe urges Virginians to get ready for winter weather; November 30-December 6 is Winter Preparedness Week in Virginia,” Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 11/25/14, online at (Please see the bottom of this post for details from that message.)

Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), “Winter Preparedness Week,” online at  The VDEM’’s “Ready Virginia” program, online at, is the Commonwealth’s central source of information on preparedness for all types of emergencies and disasters.

Virginia Department of Transportation information on traffic and road conditions, online at

Sources for More Information on Winter Weather Preparedness

American Red Cross, “Winter Storm Preparedness, at; or contact your local Red Cross chapter.

Federal Emergency Management Agency, “Winter Storms and Extreme Cold,” online at

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) “Weather Radio All Hazards” network, online at

U.S. Department of Energy, “Portable Heaters,” online at

Selected Virginia News and Events Relevant to Weather

Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts on weather are available online at  The posts—mostly about Virginia, but in some cases about other areas—cover primarily severe-weather events, precipitation and drought, and tropical storms during the June-November Atlantic tropical storm season.

Related Virginia Water Radio Episodes

For other episodes on weather and emergency preparedness, please see the Index link above (, and scroll down to “Weather/Natural Disasters.”

SOLs Information for Virginia Teachers

This episode may help with Science Standards of Learning (SOLs) for Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems Earth Resources in grade 4, for Matter in grade 6, and in Earth Science (particularly ES.13).

Detailed Winter Preparedness and Safety Information from Commonwealth of Virginia

The suggestions below are from Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Nov. 25, 2014, news release, “Governor McAuliffe urges Virginians to get ready for winter weather; November 30-December 6 is Winter Preparedness Week in Virginia,” 11/25/14).

Preparedness before Winter Storms

Get a kit.
Basic emergency supplies include the following:
*Three days’ food that doesn’t need refrigeration or electricity to prepare it;
*Three days’ water (a gallon per person per day);
*A battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio with extra batteries;
*A first-aid kit, supply of prescription medications, blankets and warm clothing, and supplies for special members of your household and pet items;
*For businesses and offices, some bottles of water and food bars and a radio to hear local information about whether or not it is safe to travel (officials may advise staying in place until it is safe to travel);
*A power pack for recharging cell phones and other mobile devices.

Make a plan.

*Decide who your out-of-town emergency contact will be;
*Plan where to meet up with family members if you can’t return home;
*Get an emergency plan worksheet at or on the new Ready Virginia app (see below).

Stay informed
before, during, and after a winter storm.
*Listen to local media for information and instructions from emergency officials;
*Be aware of winter storm watches and warnings and road conditions;
*Get where you need to go before the weather gets bad;
*Get road condition information 24/7 by calling 511 or checking

Download the Ready Virginia app.

This emergency planning tool for mobile devices features the following:
*Location-specific weather watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service;
*Disaster news from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management;
*A customizable family emergency plan that can be easily shared;
*A checklist for gathering emergency supplies;
*Contact information for local emergency managers;
*Links to register for local emergency alerts.

Safety during Winter Storms

At Home

*Keep space heaters at least three feet from other objects and never leave space heaters unattended;
*Install a smoke detector in every bedroom and on each level of your home, check the batteries monthly, and replace batteries a year at the same time every year;
*In case of power outages, use flashlights instead of candles for light;
*Use generators only outdoors and only in well-ventilated areas;
*Make sure outdoor pets have adequate shelter, unfrozen water, and food;
*If your household includes someone with special needs (has a disability, requires electricity to operate home medical equipment, needs to go to dialysis, etc.), call your local emergency manager to let them know where you live and what you will need during an emergency.


*Driving is most dangerous when the temperature is at or under 32° F;
*If the road is wet, patches of ice are possible, especially on bridges and curves;
*Avoid using cruise control in winter weather conditions;
*Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road, don't pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary, and treat these as you would emergency response vehicles;
*Keep an emergency kit in your car.