Cold weather deserves our attention

Published 11:45 pm Friday, November 14, 2014

The River Region got its first brush with winter weather Thursday and Friday night, as a cold air mass traveling into the area brought frigid temperatures and a freeze warning for Southeastern Louisiana.

St. John the Baptist Parish officials were quick on the case, issuing an alert and prompting area residents to take caution and look out for their less capable relatives and neighbors.

St. John residents are urged to sign up for emergency notifications to their home phone, cell phone, email or SMS text messaging device. Residents may sign up for the service by visiting the homepage of the Parish’s website at and clicking “Stay Connected.”

Local officials said another light freeze is forecasted Monday and Tuesday, adding dry, cool weather would continue for the remainder of next week. Thankfully, no wintery precipitation is predicted to accompany the cool weather at this time.

However, when it comes to weather in South Louisiana, wait 10 minutes and it can all change.

As the winter season descends upon us, St. John officials urge residents to make simple preparations, including wrapping and protecting exposed pipes, protecting sensitive plants and crops and sheltering outdoor pets and farm animals.

Proper use of heating equipment is urged to avoid fires.

The National Fire Protection Association says approximately half of fires that take place during December, January and February are associated with home heating appliances, half of those resulting in deaths.

The main culprit: placing flammable items too close to heat sources such as electric/gas heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves.

The onset of cold weather normally signals the arrival of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, but if ignored, Mother Nature will give us nothing to celebrate.

The following are safety tips we should all be aware of during freezing weather:

• Ventilation is needed for all fuel-burning equipment.

• Keep fire extinguishers on hand.

• Refuel kerosene heaters outside.

• Maintain contact with the elderly.

• Pets and plants should be brought inside.