MONTPELIER — Wind chill readings could be as low as 20 to 25 degrees below zero today, and that has officials cautioning central Vermonters about the dangers of frostbite and burst pipes.
The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory that took effect last night and is expected to continue until 7 p.m. today. Temperatures topping out around zero today and northwest winds of 10 to 15 mph are expected to create dangerous conditions in Washington County and all of northern Vermont.
People venturing out are advised to wear warm clothing and to be sure to cover exposed skin like fingers, ears and noses to prevent frostbite, which can lead to hypothermia if proper precautions aren’t taken.
Montpelier Fire Chief Bob Gowans advised residents not to use home appliances like cooking stoves for extra heat because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire.
He also warned residents to take steps to prevent their water pipes from freezing and bursting, especially for older, poorly insulated homes. He said homeowners can keep a trickle of water running from a faucet to prevent pipes from freezing if they plan to be out for the day.
The fire department responded to a burst pipe at a Marvin Street home last week because the homeowners had turned down the furnace while they were away. A neighbor noticed the flooding from the pipes and called authorities, he said.
Gowans added that people leaving town for several days should arrange to have someone check on their homes.
Residents are urged to contact the fire department if they don’t have enough heat and to check on elderly neighbors or others who may be particularly at risk in these conditions.
Officials will also be keeping an eye on the Winooski River and other waterways, as a rapid increase in river ice is expected over the coming days, potentially leading to ice jams and rising water levels.MORE IN Central Vermont
By Jim Lowe
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