Oregon is famous for its rainy weather, but that doesn’t mean rain is the worst thing to come. Two years ago, as some of our student populous may remember, Eugene was hit by a crazy, scary, (kinda awesome?) ice storm. If you were lucky (or perhaps unlucky, depending on your point of view) enough to miss this event, I’ll describe it briefly: everything turned to ice. Right after a bout of rain, Jack Frost himself came into town and froze it all solid. None of us were prepared. Here are some tips for more extreme weather, just in case the usual rain turns into something more.
Tip 1: Driving
We all know that driving in extreme weather can be hazardous, but if somehow you can’t take a bus, walk, or bike, hopefully the following suggestions can help.
First, remember to check your fluids (you should do this regularly anyway, but it’s especially important if the weather’s bad). Check your oil, antifreeze, gas, windshield wiper fluid, etc.
Second, consider putting together a prep kit to keep in your trunk. Some prep kit essentials could include:
· First aid kit
· Snack bars
· Ice scraper
· De-Icer for windshield ice
Third, if it’s raining heavily, be cautious of hydroplaning. If you can, try to (safely) avoid pools of standing water. If you must drive through it, go slow. If you do hydroplane, take your foot off of the accelerator. Don’t slam on your breaks, if you can avoid it, and don’t panic!
Finally, remember that the cautious turtle wins the race. Drive slowly, and keep your headlights on, even in the daytime.
Tip 2: Power Outage
In addition to your driving prep kit, you might want another in your home/dorm as well in case there’s a power outage. Flashlights are a must—candles may be very aesthetic but burning down the house is not (and they’re not allowed in the dorms anyway). Get some batteries (for the flashlight, among other things) and a first aid kit. Have some non-perishable food items and water on hand as well. If you have a mini-fridge or a refrigerator, make sure to throw out any food that has been exposed to warmer temperatures than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 2 hours.
Tip 3: Take Care of Yourself
Above all, make sure you’re taking care of yourself in extreme weather conditions. Watch out for signs of hypothermia or frostbite if you have to be exposed to the cold for long periods of time. Walk carefully and slowly on ice. Stay home if you don’t feel safe. Maybe make a cup of tea or hot cocoa (this is the most important tip, let’s be honest). Also, remember to stay dry! Don’t leave wet clothes on for too long if possible because bacteria likes to grow in damp places. I know it’s difficult in Oregon, where water seems to be pouring out of everywhere all the time (the sky, the trees, my eyes) but you’re less likely to get sick this winter if you stay as dry and warm as possible.