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How to prepare for a ‘bomb cyclone’ and ‘polar vortex’


A cold weather phenomenon called a “bomb cyclone” is making headlines this week as the large storm quickly lumbers up the East Coast. The atmospheric event gets its name from a process called bombogenesis, which is described as an explosion of air pressure that causes a rapidly intensifying weather system.

In the season’s first big storm for most of the East Coast, snow is expected to fall from Maine to Florida over the next few days, according to the National Weather Service. “This rapidly intensifying East Coast storm will produce strong, damaging winds — possibly resulting in downed trees, power outages and coastal flooding. These strong winter systems are notorious for packing big winds and waves to go along with heavy snow,” the agency tweeted Wednesday.

As for the temperatures, you can expect some bone-chilling stuff as Arctic air brings record-lows to several states.

What makes this “bomb” so potentially hazardous is that those in its path could even experience hurricane-like winds, according to weather experts. “Rapidly developing ‘bomb cyclone’ off U.S. East Coast will see pressure drops > 24 millibars / 24 hours (probably closer to 40 or 50 mb), hurricane forces winds, blizzard conditions with heavy snowfall along coast during next 48-hours,” Atlanta-based meteorologist Ryan Maue tweeted Wednesday.

With the situation across much of the nation in literal chill mode, here are winter tips for staying warm.

You can’t winterize your home, car and other possessions without winterizing yourself first. To dress accordingly, you need to layer up. It’s a good idea to put on undergarments made of cotton (long johns or leggings would be ideal). Next put a loose-fitting shirt on top. If you’re venturing outside, a down jacket accompanied with a scarf, head gear and ear muffs would all be appropriate. Mitts or gloves will help keep your hands warm. If you don’t have a down jacket, a loose one that allows you to put a towel in each pocket will give you some much-needed insulation. Wearing layers indoors can allow you to keep your thermostat at a setting that will save you money on what are bound to be some pretty nasty heating bills.

As the temperatures plunge, the water pipes in your home may freeze, which means the slightest amount of pressure could cause them to burst. To prevent this, it’s a good idea to run the faucets – at least one – at a thin stream or drip so that pressure won’t build inside your pipes. Letting it run throughout the night ensures that your home will keep its water pressure during the coldest part of the day.

RELATED: More tips on how to winterize your pipes

If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your vehicle, you want to optimize the climate in the interior.

You’d be surprised how many motorists don’t have their heater set to the proper mode during winter. One way to do this is the defrost button. If you’re using your defroster, you should point your car’s heater toward the windshield to boost the warm air so that it works quicker. The faster you can defrost your windows, the quicker you can redirect the heat back toward you.

RELATED: How to winterize your vehicle

The Department of Energy says that no matter what temperature you like, homeowners can save about 10% a year (up to hundreds of dollars) on their energy bill by dialing the thermostat down 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day, usually while you’re at work. People who live in milder climates can save even more.

While some people like it quite toasty inside their homes in the winter, others may prefer a slight draft. But there is a recommended setting for the thermostat that can save you some bucks. The U.S Department of Energy advises that setting your thermostat to 68 degrees  “while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home” is ideal. In general, the smaller the gap between the outside and inside temperature, the lower your energy bill.

RELATED: 9 easy ways to cut your heating costs



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