Our View: Be safe as ‘polar vortex’ passes

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

Weather events sometimes are over-hyped, but the extreme cold that has gripped our area has lived up to the billing.

Although the absolute worst of the weather emergency might have passed, it is not over. Today’s high temperature is expected to be in the teens, with wind chill values as low as minus 12.

The threats to safety for motorists and others will continue as well, with black ice, drifting snow and slick patches of packed snow making driving hazardous, including on interstates – especially those in rural areas.

Gov. Pat Quinn has issued a disaster declaration covering the entire state, and state transportation officials have advised avoiding nonessential travel in recent days.

People who must travel should let someone know where they’re going, the route they plan to take and their schedule for the day, so people know where they will be and can find them.

Information about state conditions also is available online at GettingAroundIllinois.com.

It’s also advisable to make sure your car has plenty of gas, leave dressed for the weather and that you have a good pair of boots either on your feet or in your car.

Extreme weather conditions of all kinds mean that we have to look after not only ourselves, but also our neighbors.

Check on people if you think they might be struggling, and help those you can safely help.

Animals are susceptible to the cold as well. Just because your dog or cat has a fur coat, doesn’t mean they won’t suffer. Please allow your pets indoors most of the day to prevent them from freezing.

As we emerge from the polar vortex and into more moderate temperatures in the days ahead, stay safe, look out for your pets and neighbors, and remember that it will be but a few short months before the spring.

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