Winter Preparedness: ‘Days of Shivery’ are back

After reminding us of the unusually warm winter of 2011-12, the Farmers’ Almanac 2014 says that the “Days of Shivery” are back. The 197-year-old publication’s 2014 Winter Outlook map labels the Midwest as “biting cold and snowy.”

Looks like Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s Winter Preparedness Week comes just in time, Nov. 17-23.

Some folks don’t put much stock in the Farmers’ Almanac. Instead, they rely on the brown band markings of woolly worms – according to folklore, the width of brown bands on the creature’s coat varies proportionately with the severity of the upcoming weather.

Others prefer the persimmon-seed method of prediction. Cut open the seed of a ripe persimmon and look at the shape of the kernel inside. If it’s spoon-shaped, expect lots of heavy, wet snow. A fork-shaped kernel brings powdery, light snow and a mild winter, while a knife-shaped kernel will “cut” you with icy winds.

Whatever method you want to rely upon, winter is fast approaching. And winter weather is nothing to play around with, so be sure you’re prepared for ice, snow, wind, freezing rain and cold temperatures.

Those in the university community and beyond are encouraged to make sure their vehicles are in good working condition as the hint of chilly winds creeps in. That means check your antifreeze, wiper blades, tires and battery.

Additionally, vehicles should be equipped with jumper cables, a functional flashlight with extra batteries, an ice scraper, emergency flares, a blanket, a shovel and one or two bags of sand or rock salt. Think about adding a battery-operated radio to keep up with weather developments.

And in case you get stuck in the snow, throw in a few high quality provisions. Try peanut butter and crackers, dried fruit, granola bars and plenty of water.

Whether you’re walking to class, driving to work or just sledding and throwing snowballs, dress appropriately for outside temperatures during winter weather and carry a cell phone in case you get stranded or hurt.

Finally, in the event of severe weather, IU Emergency Management and Continuity personnel will use IU-Notify to send warnings to service subscribers. IU faculty, staff and students also are strongly encouraged to visit IU-Notify to review, verify, update and add contact information to ensure they receive IU-Notify messages in the event of an emergency. They should log in at OneStart to confirm that contact information submitted previously is still correct.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has excellent advice on how to cope with Indiana winter weather on its website.

About IU-Notify:
IU uses a variety of methods to provide emergency and safety information, including sirens, public address, Web pages, building stewards, residence hall assistants, broadcast and electronic media, and a consolidated communications system. Collectively, these capabilities are called IU-Notify. Designed to consolidate IU’s communications systems, IU-Notify greatly enhances the university’s ability to effectively transmit critical incident information.

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