With evening temperatures expected to dip near or below freezing this week, Clark County emergency management officials are offering some safety tips for dealing with cold weather.

The Las Vegas office of the National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch from Tuesday through Thursday this week. Night-time temperatures are expected to drop below freezing on New Year’s Eve night through Friday night when the coldest temperature of the week is expected to be about 28 degrees. Snow also is a possibility from Wednesday afternoon through the morning of New Year’s Day, according to the Weather Service.

“A temperature of 32 degrees or less in our desert climate can present dangers that many residents aren’t accustomed to,” said Clark County Deputy Fire Chief and Emergency Manager John Steinbeck. “We encourage residents and visitors alike to keep a close watch on the weather this week and plan for cold weather and possibly hazardous driving conditions if snow occurs in the Valley or outlying areas.”

Freezing temperatures can damage vegetation and freeze pipes causing them to burst. Cold temperatures also can result in frostbite and hypothermia.  The following tips are recommended for dealing with winter weather in our area:

  • When outside in cold temperatures, dress to stay dry and warm. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers. Clothing made of wool or synthetic fibers such as polypropylene offers more insulation than cotton. Outer garments should be tightly-woven, water repellent and have a hood.
  • Protect pipes from freezing by:
    • Wrapping pipes in insulation or layers of newspaper and then covering them with plastic to keep out moisture.
    • Letting faucets drip a little.
  • Operate space heaters according to manufacturer’s guidelines. Do not use extension cords with space heaters and unplug space heaters when not in use.
  • Do not use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers to heat your home.
  • Fireplaces should have open dampers to allow smoke and gasses to escape safely. Ashes should be discarded in water pails and soaked for several hours before discarding.
  • All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear of flammable items.
  • Install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm in your home that meets safety standards. Battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery backup also are available.
  • Use extreme caution while driving in winter storms.
    • Drive slowly and allow for greater braking distances.
    • Accelerate and brake gradually.
    • Warm the car up before leaving.
    • Always take the time to clean off snow and ice from vehicle windows to increase visibility.
    • If coming from remote areas, drive with a full tank of gas and a cell phone. Also carry blankets, water, and sustainable food.