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Freeze warning to impact valley and foothills

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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The clear blue skies and relatively balmy daytime temperatures are triggering a freeze warning this week.
“It’s going to get down into the upper 20s for the next two mornings,” Johnnie Powell, forecaster with the National Weather Service bureau in Sacramento, said Monday.
It’s not Arctic air, but with last week’s high winds gone and dry air keeping the fog from forming, there’s no buffer, he explained.
“(We’re getting into) the coldest time of year,” Powell said. “With nights being so long, it is just cooling and cooling. The coolest time is just before sun comes up.”
It won’t be as cold in Auburn as in the valley, where the temperature could drop into the low 20s.
“There’s a thermal belt in the foothills,” he said. “You get sinking and rising air.”
Toward the end of the week when fog develops again in the valley, the low morning temperatures will moderate somewhat, he said.
The clear, dry weather pattern will likely be in place for a while.
“Right now we’re storm free for the next seven or eight days,” Powell said. “We have a high ridge sitting over us.”
Monday and Tuesday’s below-freezing temperatures shouldn’t last more than three or four hours. But that’s still enough time to endanger pipes, pets and plants.
At Anderson Sierra Pipe in Auburn, purchasing and sales rep Jerry Messner was having a busy day Monday.
“We’re sending out eight or 10 people with pipe insulation, so I think (residents) are thinking about the (freeze) warning,” he said.
He advises that the best way to protect irrigation lines is to drain them and outdoor exposed pipes need to be wrapped with insulation.
“You want the thickest pipe insulation, if it is outside,” he said. “If it is inside a structure, go with the thinner wall pipe insulation.”
Once you’ve covered the pipes with insulating material, you likely will not need to do it every year, but you should inspect for wear and tear at the beginning of the cold season.
Messner suggests putting UV resistant tape over the insulation.
“Otherwise, it gets weathered and rots away,” he said.
For indoor pipes, the weather has to stay below freezing for quite a while to do damage, he said.
“It depends on the diameter of the pipe,” he said. “Larger pipes won’t freeze as quickly as smaller pipes. Copper and steel don’t break as easily. They can handle a freeze better than plastic. Plastic will crack and freeze and break a little more easily. But any of them can freeze and break (in extended periods of extreme cold).”
On Monday, the California Emergency Management Agency issued a freeze warning for much of the northern part of the state to last through the week.
“Cal EMA continues to closely monitor the weather and is prepared to implement Phase II of California’s Contingency Plan for Extreme Cold and Free Emergencies if conditions warrant,” the press release said.
Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com.

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The California Emergency Management Agency has issued the following tips for dealing with freezing temperatures:

Learn the signs of hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration and carbon monoxide poisoning
Review and update emergency plans, including out-of-town contact information
Store plenty of drinking water, food and medications
Obtain and maintain a sufficient supply of heating oil
Make sure portable radios and flashlights are operable and there’s an adequate supply of extra batteries
Listen to the radio or watch television for the latest information on the weather as well as instructions from local officials
Eat regularly
Drink plenty of fluids
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Regularly charge devices and have back up options available if someone is dependent on equipment needing power
Teach relatives, co-workers, classmates or neighbors to operate life-safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, breathing machines, oxygen, suction or home dialysis equipment
Disabled or elderly may need assistance establishing support teams of people who can assist them at home, work or school
Pre-identify options (e.g., paratransit, dial-a-ride, taxi, friend, neighbor) for transport to Warming Centers If assistance with transportation is needed
Protect pets from the weather. Move pets indoors or into an enclosed structure
Do not use barbecues and other cooking equipment designed for outdoor use for cooking indoors.
Wear several layers of clothing that is loose, lightweight, warm and water repellent
Weather mittens, rather than gloves
Wear a hat if outdoors
Stretch before going outside.
Move plants indoors or cover with plastic to protect them
Avoid overexerting if shoveling snow or doing other outdoor activity. Overexertion is a major cause of winter deaths.
Protect your lungs from extremely cold air by covering your mouth while outdoors and avoid speaking unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Prevent your body from losing heat by changing from wet clothing to dry clothing as frequently as possible.
Watch for symptoms of frostbite, including the loss of feeling, white or pale appearance in the fingers, toes, ear lobes and other extremities. Get medical attention immediately if symptoms are noted.
Watch for signs of hypothermia, including uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.
Travel by car during the day only and ensure the car is fueled with sufficient gas.
Don’t travel alone
Let others know your schedule
Stay on main roads
Additional safety tips and information about state response activities are available at http://www.calema.ca.gov.