Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Episode 501 (12-2-19): Winter Preparedness and Safety, featuring “Cold Frosty Morn’” by New Standard

Click to listen to episode (4:53)

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Extra Information
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 11-29-19.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 2, 2019.

MUSIC – ~10 sec

This week, that excerpt of the traditional tune “Cold Frosty Morn’,” performed by the southwestern Virginia group New Standard, opens our annual episode on winter preparedness.

In 2019, winter comes to Virginia on December 21 at 11:19 p.m.  That’s the Eastern Standard time of the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, when that hemisphere is at its maximum annual tilt away from the sun.

To help you be prepared for winter’s cold temperatures, hazardous roads, power outages, and fire hazards, here are 12 tips from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Fire Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1. Avoid traveling in winter-storm conditions if you can. If you must travel, get road conditions from the Virginia 511 telephone system, Web site, or app.

2. Have an emergency kit for your vehicle, including jumper cables, water, non-perishable food, blankets, a flashlight, and other items.

3. Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, especially one with a NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] weather band.

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

5. Install a smoke detector in every bedroom and on every floor level, test them monthly, and replace the batteries every six months.

6. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and check or replace the battery every six months.

7. If you use space heaters, plug them into wall outlets, not into extension cords; keep heaters at least three feet from other objects; don’t leave heaters unattended; and check for cracked or damaged wires or plugs.

8. Generators, camp stoves, and other devices that burn gasoline or charcoal should be used outdoors only.

9. Whenever possible, use flashlights and not candles during power outages.  If you use candles, put them in safe holders away from anything flammable, and don’t leave a burning candle unattended.

10. Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.

11. Be careful of overexertion during snow shoveling.

And 12. Make a family emergency plan that covers sheltering; evacuation; emergency meeting places; communications; a supply of food, water, and medications; and other factors specific to your circumstances.

More information on preparing for winter weather, fires, and other emergencies is available from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, online at the “Prepare” link of vaemergency.gov.

Next time the forecast calls for snow, sleet, freezing rain, or other wintry weather, here’s hoping that you can stay warm, dry, and safe.

Thanks to New Standard for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 20 more seconds of “Cold Frosty Morn’.”

MUSIC – ~21 sec - instrumental


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


The performance of “Cold Frosty Morn’” heard here is copyright by New Standard, from the 2016 album “Bluegrass,” used with permission.  More information about New Standard is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.  This music was also featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 387, 9/25/17, on frost, and in Episode 400, 12-25-17, a look-back at music and sounds used in the previous year.  For more information on this traditional tune, please see Library of Congress, “Audio Recording—Frosty Morning,” online at https://www.loc.gov/item/afcreed000115/; or Ian Perry, “Cold Frosty Morning,” Banjo Newsletter, April 2010, online at https://banjonews.com/2010-04/cold_frosty_morning_exploring_the_fingerboard.html.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.


This car was evidence of a “cold, frosty morning” in Blacksburg, Va., at 7 a.m. on November 5, 2019.

Morning ground frost in Heritage Park in Blacksburg, Va., in January 14, 2018.

Snow on an oak tree beside Engel Hall on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg in December 9, 2017.


On Winter Weather Preparedness

The following information is quoted from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), “Winter Weather,” online at https://www.vaemergency.gov/threats/winter-weather/, accessed 11/27/19.

Winter storms can range from freezing rain or ice, to a few hours of moderate snowfall, to a blizzard that lasts for several days.  Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures, power outages and unpredictable road conditions.

Before, during, and after a winter storm, roads and walkways may become extremely dangerous or impassable.  Access to critical community services such as public transportation, child care, healthcare providers and schools may be limited.  Preparing your home, car and family before cold weather and a winter storm arrives is critical.

During a winter storm, stay off the roads as much as possible and only drive when absolutely necessary.  Always give snow plows the right of way.

Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any other partially enclosed area.

Snow shoveling is a known trigger for heart attacks! Always avoid overexertion when shoveling.

When severe weather occurs, plan to check on elderly or disabled neighbors and relatives.

If you must travel, know road conditions before you leave home.  Visit 511Virginia.org or call 511 for road condition updates.

Protect yourself from frostbite!  Hands, feet and face are the most commonly affected areas so wear a hat, mittens (which are warmer than gloves) and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.

Keep dry!  Change out of wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat.

Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer or heavy clothing.

Prepare Your Home

Make sure your home is properly insulated.
Check the weather stripping around your windows and doors.
Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
Have additional heat sources on hand in case of a power outages.
Keep a fire extinguisher accessible.
Replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector annually.

Prepare Your Car

Batteries lose power as temperatures drop, be sure to have yours tested.
Check your car’s antifreeze level.
Have your radiator system serviced.
Replace your car’s windshield wiper fluid with a wintertime mix.
Proactively replace your car’s worn tires and wiper blades.
To help with visibility, clean [snow or ice] off your car entirely, including your trunk, roof, windows and headlights.
Download an emergency-kit checklist online at www.vaemergency.gov.

If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet! Don’t leave pets outside for prolonged periods of time and have plenty of fresh, unfrozen water on hand.

On Fire Safety

The following information is quoted from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), “Fires,” online at https://www.vaemergency.gov/threats/fires/, accessed 11/27/19.

In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening.  In just five minutes, a home can be engulfed in flames.

Home Fire Prevention

Install smoke alarms on every level of your residence, outside bedrooms, at the top of open stairways, or at the bottom of enclosed stairs and near the kitchen.
Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least twice a year.
Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.
Review escape routes with your family and practice escaping from each room.
Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut.
Make sure security gratings on windows have a fire safety opening feature so they can be easily opened from the inside.
Consider escape ladders if your residence has more than one level.
Make sure anti-burglary devices installed on windows can be easily opened from the inside.
Teach family members to stay low to the floor (where the air is safer in a fire) when evacuating.

To Escape a Fire

If you come to a closed door, check it for heat with the back of your hand; check the top, bottom, doorknob and any cracks. Do not open a hot door; [instead], use a window.   If the door is cool, open it slowly and check your escape route.   If it’s clear, leave immediately and close the door behind you.  Crawl low under any smoke to your exit – heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling.
Stay out once you are safely out.  Do not re-enter.   Call 911.
If you cannot escape, hang a white or light-colored sheet outside the window, alerting fire fighters to your presence.


Used for Audio

Federal Emergency Management Agency:
“Build a Kit,” online at https://www.ready.gov/kit;
“Car Safety,” online at https://www.ready.gov/car;
“How to Prepare for a Winter Storm,” online (as a PDF) at https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1494008826172-76da095c3a5d6502ec66e3b81d5bb12a/FEMA_2017_WinterStorm_HTP_FINAL.pdf.
“Make a Plan,” online at https://www.ready.gov/plan;
“Snowstorms and Extreme Cold,” online at http://www.ready.gov/winter-weather.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “Weather Radio All Hazards” network, online at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/.

National Weather Service/Cleveland, Ohio, Forecast Office, “The Seasons, the Equinox, and the Solstices,” online at https://www.weather.gov/cle/seasons.

TimeandDate.com, “Winter Solstice—Shortest Day of the Year,” online at https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/winter-solstice.html.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
“Carbon Monoxide Poisoning/Frequently Asked Questions,” online at https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm;
“Proper Use of Candles During a Power Outage,” online at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/candles.html.

U.S. Fire Administration:
“Heating Fire Safety,” online (as a PDF) at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/heating_fire_safety_vertical.pdf;
“Put a Freeze on Winter Holiday Fires” and “Fireplace and Woodstove Safety,” online at https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM):
“Fires,” online at https://www.vaemergency.gov/threats/fires/;
“Make an Car Emergency Kit,” 1 min./31 sec. video, online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPgvWgtiWHI.;
“Prepare” online at https://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare/ - this is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s central source of information on preparedness for all types of emergencies and disasters;
“Winter Weather,” online at https://www.vaemergency.gov/threats/winter-weather/.

Virginia Department of Transportation, “Virginia Traffic Information,” online at http://www.511virginia.org/.

For More Information about Winter Weather and Preparedness

American Red Cross, “Winter Storm Safety,” online at https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm.html, or contact your local Red Cross chapter.

National Weather Service, “Weather and Water Events Preparedness Calendar,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/events_calendar. This page lists events, such as “Winter Weather Awareness Week,” by state.

U.S. Department of Energy, “Portable Heaters,” online at http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/portable-heaters.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Weather/Natural Disasters” subject category.

Following are links to some other episodes related to winter weather.

Episode 258, 3-23-15 – on winter precipitation and water supplies.
Episode 300, 1-25-16 – on words for snow.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 461, 2-25-19 – on snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

Following are links to previous years’ winter-preparedness episodes featuring winter-related music. The content of these episodes is similar to this year’s episode, but the music differs.

Episode 242, 12-1-14 – featuring “Cold World” by Kat Mills.
Episode 292, 11-30-15 – featuring “Winter is Coming” by The Steel Wheels.
Episode 344, 11-28-16 – featuring “Drive the Cold Winter Away” by Timothy Seaman.
Episode 396, 11-27-17 – featuring “Winter’s Fall” by No Strings Attached.
Episode 448, 11-26-18 – featuring “New Boots” by John McCutcheon.


The episode—the audio, extra information, or sources—may help with the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).

2013 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2010 Science SOLs

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
2.7 – Weather and seasonal changes affecting plants and animals.
3.8 – Basic patterns and cycles in nature, including daily, seasonal, and lunar changes.

Grades K-6 Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems Theme
2.6 – identification of common storms and other weather phenomena.
4.6 – weather conditions, phenomena, and measurements.
6.6 – properties of air and structure of Earth’s atmosphere; including weather topics.

Earth Science Course
ES.12 – weather and climate.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.