Some tips as Old Man Winter knocks on the door

Taken Decemeber 2013 by Jessie Horton


ERATH COUNTY (November 11, 2014) — Tuesday’s high is predicted by the National Weather Service in Fort Worth to be near 50?, but that may be the warmest it will be until the weekend, when we could see some rain. The low on Tuesday is predicted at 27?, but it probably won’t be that cold again.

But with highs in the mid-40’s and lows in the high-20’s, it’s feeling more and more like winter in Erath County. The NWS suggests the clouds that will roll in with this system could bring a 40 percent chance of rain on Saturday.

As the northern winds blow cooler air into central Texas and Erath County, The Flash would like to remind you of a few winter tips in case you’ve forgotten since last winter (or just need a refresher). Here are a few tips we’ve gathered up…

For the home:

This year, 79 fire fatalities have happened in the state of Texas, according to the State Fire Marshal’s office and the U.S. Fire Administration. At least one of those happened in Erath County, more in our extended coverage area.

Several calls were the result of space heaters left on overnight or near bedding or other flammable material. The Fire Administration recommends those using space heaters leave them in an open area and ensure the cord is well maintained.

And here’s something else to do before the bitter cold sets in later this week — get your heating system checked out. There are a number of great ac/heating companies in Erath County including Easter Air. Be sure to give Shela Williams and her staff a call at (254) 968-6494.

“If you don’t get your furnace checked out you run into a safety hazard with carbon monoxide,” says James Prater, a heating and cooling technician in the area. “If a furnace isn’t tuned up regularly, over time, these chambers inside will get hot, rust out. And if they start rusting out that’s when it’s going to crack and you start to have holes in your heat exchangers.”

Service calls like this are common this time of year.

“We kicked our (cold weather service) off about a month ago and we will been wide open through the rest of the winter doing them,” he said.

A cold morning (like Wednesday will be) is a perfect time to flip the switch on a space heater and cozy up to it with some coffee, and The Flash and local fire officials get that. But they recommend giving that heater ‘space’. Local officials with the city fire department recommended three feet of space in all directions.

Another major source of heat when cold weather sets in is a fire place. However, once again, officials recommend getting the entire system checked out, especially the chimney. Over the last year more than ten fires in Erath County were caused by malfunctioning fireplaces, according to fire officials. Most, if not all, could have been avoided if they have been properly checked before winter use.

Now is also the time when people are encouraged to check their smoke alarms. These alarms will sound if the worst happens and a fire does break out in your home. Make sure there are alarms throughout your home and that they are all properly functioning.

  • For your skin:

Cold weather conditions can take a real toll on your skin. But like one expert says, choosing a skin care regimen that’s effective has everything to do with your skin type.

“What happens in the winter time is that the air gets really dry,” says Renée Rouleau, a certified esthetician. “When there’s dry air, it looks for moisture wherever it can get it, so it pulls that moisture from the layers of your skin regardless of skin type”

Here, Rouleau’s tips for dealing with the elements this season.

Already dry skin

“Dry skin is little invisible cracks that allow moisture to escape easier,” Rouleau says. “This also allows irritants to get into the skin, causing you to be more sensitive to products that you never had problems with before.”

When cleansing, steer clear of bars of soap, which can strip water and the natural oils from your skin.

“Cleansing milk tends to be really gentle and doesn’t contain the bubble agent that dries out your skin,” Rouleau says.

After rinsing, apply an alcohol-free toner to remove any cleanser build-up, as well as chlorine and minerals found in tap water.

Oily skin

Your complexion may be oily, but frosty air can still evaporate moisture from your skin.

After cleansing, try an oil-free serum under a water-based moisturizer to balance the moisture that’s being pulled from your already oily skin. “During colder months, don’t be afraid of the oils these products do a great job of creating,” Rouleau says.

Combination skin

Rather than focusing on the amount of moisturizer you use, Rouleau says to focus on the ingredients. “Skin oils like cranberry oil, primrose oil, and borage oil contain ingredients that repair your dry skin,” she says.

On colder days, or when your skin is feeling tighter, add a couple of drops to your everyday moisturizer.

  • For the car:

Give your car time to warm up

Warming up your car helps it run better, but remember: unattended warm-up is a good way to get robbed and is actually illegal in most Colorado cities because of vulnerability to car theft. By warming your car up it also allows you to melt any ice or snow on your front and rear windshield. This is a much better solution than just throwing hot water on the glass as this causes cracks. If your windscreen cracks then you’d need to call someone like Allstate Auto Glass to repair it.

Plug in your block heater (if you have one)

Plugging in your engine allows it to resist the stress caused by freezing temperatures.

Lift windshield wipers off the windshield during inactivity

You’ve seen how quickly your wipers ice up when they’re in contact with snow on glass – and this makes them less effective. Also remember to scrape the bottom and edges of your windshield to protect the wipers.

Clear the cowl grate at the outside bottom of your windshield

Any blockage to the cowl grate – which provides the air intake for the car’s heater – increases the risk that under-hood fumes could seep into the passenger compartment.

Ask a mechanic to inspect your vehicle

If you’re clueless about cars, it’s probably a good time to ask a professional to check yours out for cold weather preparedness. Because, well, safety.

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