Floridians Have Thinner Blood- Cold Weather Tips

COLD WEATHER TIPS   Yourself

• Wear a hat and gloves and keep your feet warm. Dress in layers.

• Follow portable heater instructions carefully. Take the word “space” literally. Keep the heating unit 3 feet from other objects to avoid starting a fire. Avoid using older units that don’t have a tip-over switch. These switches are a safety feature that turn off the unit if it falls over. Check that the cords are not frayed or damaged. Do not use with extension cords. Kerosene heaters must be used in large rooms with a steady air supply. Use in small, sealed rooms risks carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Don’t put them near flammable materials, such as beds and clothes. Use a good extension cord, not a flimsy or torn one. If using kerosene heaters, open a window for ventilation. Make sure heating units that have not been used recently are grease- and dust-free before they are turned on.

Appliances

• Use appliances and heaters sparingly. The power surge can cause a blackout. Try not to use appliances from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., or 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Florida Power and Light suggests that instead of turning the heat down at night, keep it at the same level– four degrees lower than usual– all day.

• Never use charcoal grills for heat inside. Fumes are deadly.

Your pets

• Bring them inside.

• If you don’t let your pet inside, make sure there is a place out of the cold and wind where it can sleep.

Your plants

• Bring in potted plants.

• Give extra protection by covering them with burlap or another fibrous cloth. Don’t cover them with plastic because it draws heat from plants. If the plant is too big, douse the ground around it with water before nightfall. Cold-tolerant plants left outside include junipers, hollies, ligustrums.

• Don’t worry about citrus trees or hardy vegetables such as broccoli, but irrigating or covering them won’t hurt as long as there is no water sitting on the plants overnight.

• During the day before a possible freeze, get as much water into the ground as you can but don’t get water on the plant after sunset. While commercial growers sometimes turn on sprinklers to protect plants during a freeze, it can backfire and ruin plants if you don’t know exactly when to turn them on and off.

If your plants have suffered damage from the cold, these steps might help:

• After the cold has passed, resist the temptation to prune cold-damaged plants for a few days until the full extent of the damage is known. Wait a few days and see how the plant recovers. You may only need to trim away damaged parts

• Check the plant’s buds if leaves have shed because of the cold. The plant should be fine if the buds are still green.

• Give the plant only moderate amounts of water. If possible, keep exposure to the sun to a minimum.

Your heater

Even if the heater isn’t on all the time, heating your home can be two to three times more expensive than cooling it. Florida Power & Light Co. offers some ways to keep your bill down during a cold snap:

• Keep the thermostat set at 68 degrees or lower and adjust it to 65 degrees when going to sleep or when you are away from your home. Keep air filters clean to help make the heating unit run more efficiently, and do not turn up the thermostat to heat your home faster -that doesn’t work.

• Turn off all nonessential lights and things such as pool pumps. Use dishwashers and other major appliances only when necessary. Try to refrain from taking longer showers, which people often do when the weather is cold.

• Close windows and blinds to hold heat in. Also, use ceiling fans to distribute heat around a room.

• Use space heaters, but be careful: Use the proper fuel and read the instructions before turning one on. Keep space heaters away from curtains, bed linens, furniture and anything else combustible. Keep heaters away from water to avoid electric shock and make sure they automatically shut off if tipped over. Use a good extension cord, not a flimsy or torn one.

• Don’t sleep in any room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater. Keep children away from space heaters, and turn them off before you leave the room for a long period of time.

How to dress warmly

• Dress in layers. The more, the better. They trap insulating air when you’re cold and are easy to peel when it gets warm.

• Start light and go heavy – Say a T-shirt, a shirt, a sweater.

• Silk may be thin, but it’s great at keeping you warm.

• Long underwear is a good layer too, if you own it.

• If you’re going to work up a sweat, like go skiing for example, (unlikely here, but just for discussion) cotton is not the best first layer because you will sweat and then the cotton will hold on to it.

• Wool and down make great outter layers.

• Cover your head, even if it doesn’t feel cold. Your body is sending heat there to insulate your brain. When that heat gets there, keep it there.

• Now is not the time for open-toe shoes. Keep feet warm by layering there too… wear both socks and shoes.

• A scarf isn’t just a fashion statement, it fills the space between the coat collar and the hat you’re going to wear.

• Turtle neck shirts and raised collars also suit this purpose.

Do Floridians actually have thinner blood?

It’s as predictable as January following December. When the season’s first blast of wintry air arrives, northern and midwestern transplants lament how, having become South Floridians, their “blood has thinned,” rendering them less tolerant of cold weather. So, is this a real phenomenon or old wives’ tale?

The latter, according to Dr. Ashok Kumar, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center. “What happens when you go to a cold climate, the blood viscosity – the technical term for the thickness – doesn’t change,” he said. However, at high altitudes, where it often is colder, your blood can thicken as it produces more red blood cells. But, said Kumar, “It’s not the temperature doing it — it’s the altitude.”

Kumar and other experts tend to agree: The human body simply becomes accustomed to the temperatures it’s most often exposed too – and unaccustomed to the ones it’s not.

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Tropical Storm Targets South Florida

 

System aiming at South Florida becomes Tropical Depression 16; could be Tropical Storm Nicole in hours

by Eliot Kleinberg

The system on a collision course with Florida, arriving as early as this afternoon, became Tropical Depression 16 at 11 a.m. today. At 2 p.m., top sustained winds were near 35 mph, just below tropical storm strength, and the system is expected to become Tropical Storm Nicole later  this afternoon. But the official forecast calls for a 60 percent chance that Palm Beach County never will see tropical storm force winds. And the National Weather Service’s Miami office says there’s a “very low” chance. It says top sustained winds in Palm Beach County will be in the 25 mph to 35 mph range, with gusts up to 45 mph, although it said stronger winds still are possible depending on the system’s path. 

mflwindthreat_smA tropical storm warning is in place from Jupiter Inlet south to the Keys and a tropical storm watch north to Sebastian Inlet as well as for southwest Florida.

Also, a flood watch is set to be posted at 4 p.m. today and run through 2 p.m. Wednesday for Palm Beach County and points south. While heavy rains should start tonight, it’s most likely tropical storm force winds won’t affect Palm Beach County until Wednesday, if ever, the National Weather Service’s Robert Molleda said this morning. As much as 8 inches of rain could fall on South Florida, with the heaviest rains expected south and southeast of Lake Okeechobee, according to water managers at the South Florida Water Management District. They said Broward and Miami-Dade counties likely will see more rain than Palm Beach County. 

The heaviest rains are expected late this afternoon and tonight and then overnight, with a good chance they’ll make Wednesday morning’s commute an unpleasant one. The center of the system was expected to near southeastern Florida by Wednesday afternoon and east of Boynton Beach around 8 p.m. Wednesday. The system should be gone by Thursday morning. National Weather Service forecaster Brad Diehl said. At  2 p.m., the depression’s center was about 370 miles south-southwest of Miami. It was moving north-northeast at 10 mph. 

There's less than a 40 percent chance of tropical storm force winds for PB County There’s a 40 percent chance of tropical storm force winds for PB County 

145212w_sm1With the strongest winds east and south of the system’s center, if it stays right at or near the coast, tropical storm force winds would stay off shore, Molleda – warning coordination meteorologist at the weather service’s Miami office – said this morning. “Since it’s such a disproportionate distribution of wind and rain, if the system tracks offshore, even if it’s by a few miles, that’s the different between getting tropical storm force winds and not getting any at all,” he said. If the storm stays off shore, that also could reduce the projected deluge, Molleda said. But with the storm so close, and its status changing nearly hourly, “we’re walking a big of a tightrope,” he said. 

Assistant Palm Beach County administrator Vince Bonvento said the county does not expect to go into full storm mode but is watching the storm’s progress. He said the county’s final budget meeting still is set to go on at 6 p.m. Palm Beach Schools officials said at midday they’ll decide later today whether the storm will affect schools on Wednesday. The system is forecast to dissolve into a front on Thursday. Post staff writers Christine Stapleton and Jennifer Sorentrue  contributed to this report. 

Four to six inches of rain could fall on Palm Beach County

by Eliot Kleinberg

Four to six inches of rain, perhaps more in spots, could fall across Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast from Tuesday afternoon to late Wednesday as a result of a weather system now in the Caribbean, the National Weather Service said today.

The atmosphere is loaded with water at historic levels, and rain bands could drop 2 to 4 inches over an area in as many hours, meteorologist Dan Gregoria said today from the weather service’s Miami office.

The heaviest rain will be from Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon.

A flood watch might be issued early Wednesday for coastal urban areas.

Rainfall could be a little less pronounced along the Treasure Coast, but the threat also extends inland over Lake Okeechobee and west to the Gulf of Mexico, Gregoria said.

“We are concerned about heavy rain in a short time,” he said.

And it might not be the end. One to two more waves of saturated atmosphere might move through later in the week.

Thunder and lightning will be isolated, there’s a minimal tornado threat, and whether strong winds accompany the deluge will depend on whether the system develops tropical characteristics before moving over the peninsula, Gregoria said.

The National Hurricane Center’s 2 p.m. tropical weather outlook upped to 40 percent the chance the storm will do just that, and become a tropical depression or Tropical Storm Nicole, by Wednesday afternoon.

A National Science Foundation jet that flew into the system found it did not yet have a well-defined center of circulation, but conditions are favorable for more development, the outlook said.

The outlook mentioned two other systems way out in the Atlantic, but chances were low either will develop into anything in the next 48 hours.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 27th, 2010 at 2:12 pm and is filed under 2010 season storms, Developing storms, Nicole, Season forecasts, South Florida weather. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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The basics of renters insurance

The basics of renters insurance

By Insure.com

Last updated May 23, 2010

When disaster strikes, it doesn’t differentiate between rented buildings and owned homes. Renters face the same risk as homeowners. Your landlord or condo association may have insurance, but it only protects the building structure, not the personal items inside. Renters insurance can protect your belongings in case of disaster.

What standard policies cover

There are several types of residential insurance policies. The HO-4 policy is designed for renters, while the HO-6 policy is for condo owners. Both HO-4 and HO-6 cover losses to your personal property from 16 types of perils:

  1. Fire or lightning
  2. Windstorm or hail
  3. Explosion
  4. Riot or civil commotion
  5. Damage caused by aircraft
  6. Damage caused by vehicles
  7. Smoke
  8. Vandalism or malicious mischief
  9. Theft
  10. Volcanic eruption
  11. Falling objects
  12. Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  13. Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance
  14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system
  15. Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance
  16. Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component)

Floods and earthquakes aren’t on the list. If you live in an area prone to either, you’ll need to buy a separate policy or a rider. In some coastal regions, where hurricanes might pose a threat, you might also need to buy a separate rider to cover wind damage.

Actual cash value vs. replacement cost

Always tell your agent about the valuable items you own.

One thing to consider is whether the insurance company will offer “actual cash value” (ACV) or “replacement cost coverage” for your belongings. As the name implies, ACV coverage will pay only for what your property was worth at the time it was damaged or stolen. So, if you bought a television five years ago for $500, it would be worth significantly less today. While you’d still need to spend about $500 for a new TV, your insurance company will pay only for what the old one is worth, minus your deductible.

Replacement cost coverage, on the other hand, will pay what it actually costs to replace the items you lost (minus the deductible). In some regions, most insurers write ACV coverage. In others, they’ll quote you replacement cost coverage by default. Replacement cost coverage will cost you more in premiums, but it will also pay out more if you ever need to file a claim. Let your agent know about any particularly valuable items you have. Jewelry, antiques and electronics might be covered only up to an amount that won’t pay for their replacement.

If you have some items that are unusually expensive, such as a diamond ring, you’ll probably want to purchase a separate rider. Without riders for expensive items you can’t recover the full loss if it’s beyond your policy limit.

Take inventory

To ensure you’re compensated for any belongings you lose from a fire, storm or other catastrophe, you should inventory all of your personal belongings. List each item, its value and serial number. Photograph or videotape each room, including closets, open drawers, storage buildings and your garage. Keep receipts for major items in a fireproof place. To make things easier, the Insurance Information Institute has free inventory software that helps you create a room-by-room inventory of your personal possessions. For more information, go to KnowYourStuff.org.

When your home is unlivable

If your apartment or condominium becomes uninhabitable due to a fire, burst pipes or any other reason covered by your policy, your renters insurance will cover your “additional living expenses.” Generally, that means paying for you to live somewhere else.

Additional benefits

Liability protection is also standard with most renters and condo policies. This means if someone in your unit slips and falls, you’re covered for any costs, up to your liability limit. If this person sues you, you’re covered for what they win in a court judgment as well as legal expenses, up to your policy’s limit.

Keeping your premium low

Just like any other type of homeowners insurance policy, your renters insurance premium depends on a number of factors: where you live, your deductible, your insurance company and whether you need any additional coverage.

There are ways to reduce your renters or condo owners insurance bill. Increasing your deductible (the amount you pay before your coverage kicks in) is one strategy. Make sure you can afford whatever deductible you choose. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, you might want to think twice. Some insurance companies are reluctant to write policies for owners of certain breeds.

Most insurers offer a discount for “protective devices” including smoke and fire detectors, burglar alarms and fire extinguishers.

Some insurers might offer discounts to policyholders who are over age 55 and retired. Others might offer a discount if you buy both an auto and renters policy (called a multiline discount).