Thursday, 5 February 2015

Tips & Apps for Winter Survival During the Blizzard of 2015

Trivia time! What’s common between Barrow in Alaska, Hell in Norway (no pun intended) & Yakutsk in Russia? Temperatures below freezing point that will kill all your bed bugs!

Weather conditions at these places can get harsh enough to confine residents to their houses for days at a stretch. New Yorkers have been witnessing something similar the past few days amid the ‘Blizzard of 2015’. Who else agrees that the images pouring in on Twitter right now look more like stills from Dennis Quaid’s ‘The Day After Tomorrow’?

The havoc that Juno wreaked the past week in the Northeast has made one thing certain, whether you’re a permanent resident or a wanderer touring one of these places, you must prepare yourself for unforeseen severe weather conditions because there’s no guarantee when a severe weather ‘watch’ will turn to a ‘warning’.

Say, if you do get stranded somewhere in a snowstorm on a fateful day without any preparations, here are a few survival tips.

  1. Remove any jewellery items you are wearing. Married people start with their wedding rings!
  2. Light a fire! Burn anything you can find.
  3. You lose the most heat through your head, and then your feet. Cover them up first and cover them up well.
  4. Put on anything, anything you can find that will insulate your body and stall heat loss.
  5. To prevent a frostnip, keep kicking your boots in the snow every now and then. This will increase blood circulation and warm you up a little.
  6. If incase you do get frostbitten, whatever you do, DO NOT rub the affected area and DO NOT thaw it in hot water. The trick is to start with cold water, very slowly increasing the water temperature. Do it wrong and you might lose that digit.
  7. Shed any damp clothing item you are wearing. Dampness along with freezing cold will increase the odds of getting a frostbite.
  8. Save your phone's battery! You'll need it! It's good to have a good weather app installed on your phone at all times. Of all the apps that I’ve tried, I’ve found WeatherMate to be the best weather app for iPhone & iPad. One of its best features is the real-time push notification function for severe weather watches & warnings. This app picks up real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for the US & Canada, and MeteoAlarm for Europe. So, the updates don’t get more official and accurate than this.

Bear in mind, no number of tips can beat the time-tested axiom of survival, that is, ‘hope for the best, but prepare for the worst’. It’s better to always carry extra food, water & gasoline, flashlights and charged batteries when you’re travelling. Also, having a handy mobile app that readily alerts you of the looming severe weather conditions at your location will help you brace yourself up ahead of any harsh conditions that you might otherwise have to endure.

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