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Take Cold Weather, High Wind Precautions

It’s cold and blustery leading into Christmas weekend. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued both a Wind and a Wind Chill Advisory for the District of Columbia, in effect from 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23 until 10 a.m. Saturday Dec. 24, 2022.

Wind chills are predicted to fall as low as 10 below zero, with winds at speeds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 55 mph expected.

Without precautions, these  wind chills could result in hypothermia. Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result.

The highest wind speeds will be through this evening. Affects from the extreme cold could be made worse due to power outages. Bitterly cold wind chills will be ongoing during the time of this high wind event. It’s good to get prepared for extreme cold conditions with the potential for loss of power.

NWS advises you to use extra caution when driving, especially if operating a taller vehicle. You should secure outdoor objects, including holiday decorations like inflatables or outdoor trees. Materials at construction sites should also be secured, since high winds can blow even full sheets of plywood.

Check on those neighbors who might need assistance during this time, especially the elderly and those living without roofs.

  • Stay inside if you can.
  • Cover up and limit exposed skin when you go outside.
  • Check on your neighbors and learn the signs of hypothermia – young children, the elderly, and those with access and functional needs are the most vulnerable in our community.
  • To request shelter transport for DC residents who are experiencing homelessness and outside, please call 311 or the shelter hotline at 202-399-7093. The District opens Hypothermia Shelters in recreation centers and other public buildings to ensure there are warm, safe places to be for anyone experiencing homelessness.
  • For all animal emergencies, including animals left outside in extreme temperatures, call the Humane Rescue Alliance at 202-723-5730.

Prepare Your Home

Take precautions with your home as well. The DC Department of Buildings reminds all homeowners, construction site owners  and vacant building owners that these freezing conditions can lead to many disastrous consequences, such as frozen pipes and subsequent bursting. Burst pipes are one of the most common examples of property damage, and can result in several thousands of dollars in damages.

To protect your property and to keep this from happening, consider taking the following precautions:

  • Keep any external doors closed to prevent the cold from getting into your home and freezing your water lines, and keep the heat on.
  • Opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors helps warm air to circulate around plumbing.
  • If on a construction site, sealing off the pipes prior to the weather event helps to protect them from the cold. If working in an unoccupied area, draining the pipes is the safest way to avoid them bursting.
  • Wrapping pipe insulation covers or towels around exposed pipes helps keep the cold out.

Due to the unusually low temperatures and rapid onset, DOB encourages property owners should remain available through the holidays to respond to tenant alerts of frozen or burst water pipes and heating problems.

For additional winter weather information and preparedness tips, visit https://ready.dc.gov/winterwx.

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