Tag: weather

Prepare Your Vehicles For Harsh Weather

As the seasons change, motorists must take steps to safeguard their vehicles, especially when the season changes from fall to winter. Each winter, many vehicles are subjected to sub-zero temperatures, snowfall and icy roads, and such conditions can take their toll on vehicles over time. Taking steps to prepare vehicles for winter weather is a vital step that can make cars and trucks safer for drivers and their passengers.

Battery

Old batteries should be replaced before winter begins. Without a strong, properly functioning battery, engines cannot turn over. Most batteries last between three and five years. However, extreme cold can compromise batteries, especially those that have been around awhile. Batteries are made up of acid and water, and cold temperatures can freeze the water, thereby affecting battery performance. According to AAA’s Automotive Research Center, at 32 F, the average battery loses 35 percent of its strength. Newer batteries can be protected by starting the vehicle each day to warm up and recharge the battery. Let the car run for at least 10 minutes if you cannot take an extended drive.

Exterior Maintenance

Keeping a car waxed and sealed can help maintain a durable exterior finish. This includes not only the paint, but the rubber and vinyl parts of the car’s exterior. Winter is a good time to switch to a heavy-duty synthetic wax that can shield against water and road salts. High-quality sealants can be used on bumpers, trim and rubber door seals as added protection. Speak with an automotive retailer or even the car dealership if you are unsure which products will make your car’s parts most durable for winter weather. Do not stop washing your car just because the weather is cold. Slushy, wet roads and snow-melting salts can speed up the formation of rust or other decay on the undercarriage of the vehicle. These materials will need to be periodically cleaned off. Flush the underside of the vehicle whenever possible, taking advantage of any dry, slightly warmer days.

Tire Pressure

According to the automotive retailer Pep Boys, vehicle tires lose a pound of air pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature. Many modern cars will alert to changes in air pressure, and drivers should be diligent in maintaining the proper tire pressure. Fuel economy as well as handling ability can decline when tires are not inflated properly. Tires can be refilled at many gas stations for little cost.

Wipers

Visibility is key in hazardous weather conditions, and keeping the windshield clean is a priority. This means ensuring there is enough windshield wiper fluid in the car and that it is a product that will not freeze. Wiper blades can freeze and crack in the winter. Older blades may be more susceptible to damage. It’s a worthy investment to replace existing wiper blades at the start of each winter. When vehicles are parked, pull the wipers off of the windshield to safeguard them from sticking and cracking.

Cold weather requires drivers to amp up their vehicle maintenance routines. Consult with a mechanic or automotive retailer for more ideas and products that can help your vehicles operate safely and efficiently this winter.

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Safety First When Observing Thunderstorms

Few things grab our attention like a mid-summer thunderstorm. Steamy temperatures and turbulent atmospheric conditions often conspire to produce amazing visual pyrotechnics and house-shaking booms.

Thunderstorms occur when cold upper air descends and warm, moist air rises. When these air masses collide, they form thick cumulonimbus clouds, often referred to as “thunderheads.” Thunderstorms may begin and end in an instant, or several storms may string together to make thunder and lighting clusters.

While thunderstorms can occur during any time of the year, they’re more likely to occur in spring and summer. According to a NASA study, the most intense and powerful thunderstorms occur in the eastern part of the Andes mountains in Argentina. But strong thunderstorms can occur just about anywhere moisture, unstable air and lift (from sea breezes or mountains) causes air to rise up.

Thunderstorms have the potential to cause significant damage and injuries, most notably from lightning strikes. It’s always wise to seek shelter during a thunderstorm so you are protected from lightning, falling limbs from trees and hail, which often accompanies thunderstorms.

Despite thunderstorms’ harmful potential, they can be very enjoyable to watch or chase. But storm spectators should keep these tips in mind.

· Watch thunderstorms from the safety of indoors. It may be tempting to be out in the storm, but if you head outside during a storm, you are risking injury or even death. Consider watching a storm from the comfort of inside a garage, where you can leave the door open and see, hear and smell the storm while it comes through.

· Keep flashlights or candles handy. Strong storms can knock out power. Always have a backup light source readily available in case the power goes out. Also, you may need a battery-powered radio or a charged mobile phone at the ready to keep up on storm alerts.

· Keep pets in an interior room so they do not get too spooked. Thunderstorms frighten many animals, so pets should not share in your storm-watching endeavors. They may injure themselves trying to escape the noise. It’s best if pets are kept in a quiet, dark space until the storm has ended.

· Steer clear of standing bodies of water. Downed power lines may leach electricity through puddles, potentially causing electrocution if people are standing in puddles. Do not touch any wires that seem suspicious. Water is an easy conduit for lightning, so avoid any bodies of water during a thunderstorm.

· If you’re caught in a thunderstorm and don’t have indoor shelter, do not seek shelter under trees, which can attract lightning strikes. Accuweather.com advises that people who cannot find reasonable shelter after a storm should take steps to minimize their risk of being struck or injured. Crouch as low to the ground as you can, but do not lie down on the ground or put your hands down. Stay on just your feet to cover as little ground as possible. You also want to be as low as you can to reduce your risks of being a lightning target. Keep anything that is a good electrical conductor away from you.

Summer weather is bound to include some thunderstorms. Where there is thunder, there’s lightning, and remember to stay safe by watching these storms from a distance and making smart choices.


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Treating Weather-Related Joint Pain

Early spring is often marked by wind and rain that precedes the more welcoming warmth synonymous with late spring and summer.

Rainy, damp conditions may be great for homeowners looking to revitalize their lawns and gardens, but such conditions can wreak havoc on achy joints, especially for those who experience arthritis. Although there is no concrete proof to link aching joints and muscles with damp weather, rheumatologists are often asked why achy joints and muscles tend to ache that much more in damp weather.

Dropping barometric pressure, which occurs when rain is on the horizon, may cause tissues to swell. Swelling tissues in already inflamed joints can add to pain, especially if these tissues push into nerves and muscles in the area. According to a survey published in the journal Pain, two-thirds of people living with chronic joint pain believe there is a link between their pain and weather changes. Changes in humidity and temperature also may play a role, affecting pressure all over the body. Joint pain may not be the only effect, as some people get headaches as well.

While spring may be a painful time of year for sufferers of joint pain, there are steps such men and women can take to alleviate some of those aches. When rainy or cooler temperatures loom, try these ideas.

· See your doctor. If your pain is growing more severe, consult with your doctor, who may be able to develop a plan that helps you deal with the changing seasons more comfortably. Doctors may suggest chiropractic manipulation, or physical therapy or prescribe pain medications.

· Keep the body warm. Cold limbs and joints may be more prone to stiffness and pain. Dress in layers and use heating pads to combat chilly temperatures.

· Exercise painful joints. Rely on low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming, to loosen up stiffness in the body. Loosening up and stretching before any intense workouts is recommended.

Rainy weather may be in the forecast, and that can mean increased pain for those with achy joints. Working with a medical professional can help take the “ouch” out of seasonal changes.

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