Prepare for winter weather moving into area

By Rita Van Fleet This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mark Green Car lo res
Icy roads dangerous for drivers. Photo by Mark Green

As Dawson and Pickens counties experience one of the earliest snowfalls on record, both counties have announced school closings. The most recent Big Canoe POA Public Safety Weather Advisory issued at 8:30 a.m. closed Big Canoe to contractors until further notice due to accumulating snow on the roads. All amenities were closed at 11 a.m. with delayed openings on Saturday. (Read the most recent Big Canoe emails at

The National Weather Service has issued an urgent weather message warning that “Slick and dangerous road conditions are possible, especially on elevated bridges and overpasses. Road conditions are expected to deteriorate through the day and into the evening.”

Snowy scene on Cherokee Trail. Photo by Sandy Lipkowitz

With lows forecast to dip below 30 degrees for several days, residents need to prepare for freezing weather. Preparing ahead for a winter event can avert inconvenience or tragedy. Prior to the event, set up a communication plan with family members in case of an emergency. Keep a cell phone charged and have an alternative charging system available. Assemble an emergency kit with supplies for three days for each person in the home. Include sufficient medications and supplies for health conditions and emergencies.

In the home, insure that the home is well-insulated and install or check the carbon monoxide detector and have a fire extinguisher on hand. Be prepared to shut off the water in case of leaks or burst pipes. Clean and check wood-burning fireplaces. Store a supply of blankets and coats in case of power loss. Keep a functioning NOAA radio on-hand for weather warnings and have a supply of batteries.

Automobiles should have the gas tank at least half-full. The car should be serviced, checking antifreeze, brakes, heater, defroster, tires and windshield wipers. Keep an emergency kit in the car as well as blankets, and jumper cables. Check on the manual release of the garage door opener.

During the winter event, check on relatives and neighbors and bring pets inside. Stay indoors and drive only when necessary. When going outside, wear several layers of clothing, mittens, hat, and scarf. Avoid overexertion outside and use caution walking on icy paths and roads.

If leaving a home vacant, take steps to winterize the home. The checklist should include turning off the water at the meter, adjusting the thermostat, and following all manufacturer directions to winterize appliances. Professionals are available locally who can perform all of the procedures beyond the capability of most owners. For more information, visit and watch for Big Canoe POA weather alerts from Public Safety.

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