Snow 2021

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Snow

Winter Fun

Winter Care

The amount of time people spend outdoors has dramatically decreased, as the Environmental Protection Agency now reports the average American spends 87% of his or her time in a residence, school building or workplace. Being outside is linked to better moods, more physical activity and less exposure to contaminants. Also, people who spend time outside may not come into contact with surface germs or develop various illnesses spread as often as those who spend a lot of time indoors. Cold weather can make the desire to be outside less appealing, but it is important for one’s mental and physical well-being to get outside. The following activities might coax people outside for some crisp air.

Get sporty

Sledding, skating, snowshoeing and ice hockey are just a few of the winter sports that can get the heart pumping and muscles working outside. These activities are entertaining and also great exercise. When venturing outdoors in winter, dress in layers. This way clothing can be put on or taken off to reduce the likelihood of hypothermia.

Create snow critters

Why do snowmen and women get all of the fanfare this time of year? Just about any living or fictional creature can be molded from snow and embellish landscapes. Use food-grade coloring in spray bottles to add even more creative flair to snow designs.

Go on a nature hike

While many plants and animals hibernate in winter, there is still plenty to see. Bring along a sketch book or camera and capture nature in winter. White-washed hills can be beautiful to behold, and many small animals and birds look even more vivid against the white backdrop of snow.

Make an obstacle course

Turn an area of the yard or park into a homemade obstacle course. It’s much more difficult – and a great workout – to try to jump over snow mounds or run down paths when decked out in warm layers. Engage in lighthearted competitions with friends and family members.

Build a bonfire

Children can set off in different directions to gather up firewood to craft a bonfire with adults in a safe location. S’mores taste equally delicious whether it’s warm or cold outside, and in winter they can be accompanied by toasty mugs of cocoa.

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Prepare for a sledding adventure Wintertime is made all the more merry with the addition of some outdoor recreation. Sleigh rides and sleds are par for the course, especially when a bounty of snow is in the forecast. Sledding has been part of snowy celebrations for ages. Sledding is a fun-filled activity, but it can be made an even better time, and a little safer, if revelers learn a little more about it.

Sled styles

Sleds come in many different styles, each with its own advantages. Sleds with metal blades will work like ice skates, balancing riders’ weight on two metal runners. These sleds can work well during icy conditions or with hard-packed snow. Toboggans can fit multiple people, which can increase the fun factor and downhill speeds. Saucer-style sleds are good for one or two people. Foam liners on some saucers can absorb shock for riders, making those downhill bumps a little easier on the backside. Keep in mind that sleds with steering mechanisms are easier to control, which can equate to safer sledding.

Layer up

It is best to dress in layers when going sledding. Even if it seems warm at home, it may be colder and windier at the top of hills. Sweating when it’s cold out can increase a person’s risk for hypothermia. According to experts, a person who works up a sweat and comes in contact with ambient air when taking a break will feel an immediate chill. This is called evaporative danger and can be remedied by dressing in layers and trying to stay dry.

Let others go first

Wait until some sledders have already gone downhill, allowing them to compact the snow, which should make for a smooth ride. Choose safe hills, such as those that are free of bare spots, holes, trees, and obstructions, and do not end abruptly at a road. Hills with long, flat areas at the end make for easy, safe stopping.

Safety first

Put safety first when sledding. Sled during the daytime so visibility is better. Keep arms and legs on the sled, and only sled feet-first. By keeping these guidelines in mind, sledders can make sure this popular winter activity is as safe as it is fun.

How to make the perfect snowman Do you want to build a snowman? Here are a few tips for making one that’ll be the envy of your neighborhood. Choose a flat and shady area so that your snowman will stand straight and won’t melt in the sun. Make sure that the snow is sticky enough by making a small ball in your hand. If it holds together and doesn’t crumble between your fingers, you’re good to go. First, shape three balls with your hands until they become too big to hold. Then roll them in the snow until they’re as big as you want them to be. Remember, the middle ball must be smaller than the bottom one, and the top one smaller than both of them. Flatten the top of each ball before placing another one on top. Finally, to keep everything together, pack snow around the base of the bottom ball and between each layer. After, all that’s left to do is decorate your creation. Use a hat, scarf, gloves or even some big, silly glasses to make your snowman stand out. And did you know that the record for the tallest snowman was set in Austria in 2020. The sculpture was just over 124 feet tall.

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How to care for winter birds that visit your yard The pristine, white backdrop of a snowy winter day can be a wonder to behold. While fresh snow on the ground can make for awe-inspiring landscapes, the absence of greenery amid the starkness of winter poses challenges for animals that do not ride out winter in a state of hibernation. Several bird species stay in colder climates over the winter. Red-winged crossbills, snow buntings, bohemian waxwings, evening grosbeaks and cardinals are just some of the birds one may find while gazing outside on a chilly winter’s day. Birding in the winter can be a rewarding hobby because, despite the chilly conditions, birds tend to be easy to find in bare trees. The colder temperatures may keep many people inside, meaning neighborhoods, trails and parks can be very quiet, thus making it easier for those who brave the cold to see the birds. Winter can be a difficult time of year for birds due to the weather and the scarcity of food. And, birds must consume a lot of food in a short amount of time to have the energy and body warmth to survive each day. Even birds that store food in caches or have developed special scavenging strategies to find as much food as possible can benefit from a little wintertime help. Providing a variety of foods will help to attract the greatest number of species. Small, black-oil sunflower seeds are preferred by many smaller species of bird and have a high oil content that is nutritionally important for birds. Other sunflower seeds will be appropriate for blue jays and cardinals. Some other popular foods include white proso millet, thistle seed, niger seed and peanuts. Consult a wild bird store, which likely sells a birdseed mix that enables you to place a variety of seed into one feeder. In addition to seed, suet, which is made from high-quality animal fat, is crucial for birds in the winter. Families can get crafty by spreading peanut butter onto pine cones and sprinkling seed on top. Hang the pine cones tied to pieces of string from tree branches for homemade feeders. Birds likely need a little help surviving the winter, when conditions can be bleak. Offering food and observing backyard visitors can be a great way to unwind on winter afternoons.

Navigate around these four winter hazards Frostbite

Frostbite occurs when the soft tissues of the body start to freeze. It most commonly affects the fingers, toes and nose. Single-digit Fahrenheit temperatures are cold enough to cause frostbite. Frostbite affects skin cells and tissues and can cause severe damage. Frostbitten skin turns black as cells die from freezing. Numbness and a painful feeling of “pins and needles” occurs in areas that are exposed to the cold or cold water for too long. Dressing appropriately for weather, limiting time spent outdoors in very cold temperatures and maintaining strong blood flow can reduce risk for frostbite.

Falls

Fresh snowfall can bring a hush over any landscape and temporarily, create a perfect picture scene. As idyllic as such landscapes can be, snow-covered sledding hills can pose various threats to outdoor lovers’ health and safety.

Winter weather can lead to slippery conditions. Falls on snow, ice or wet floors are common. When walking, wear shoes with sufficient traction, avoid icy patches and invest in walking poles or microspikes. Promptly wipe up melting puddles in the home to avoid slipping inside as well.

Thin ice

Winter activities may include skating or fishing on a frozen body of water. But it can be challenging to determine just how frozen

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Depression

The lack of sun and short days of winter can affect individuals’ mental wellness. Those with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, find winter challenging. SAD surfaces in late fall or early winter and may not subside until early summer. Make time to get outdoors, even when it’s cold, to take advantage of at least 30 minutes of morning light. Doing so can improve mood. Exercise and find ways to engage in social activities to stave off depressive feelings. Do not turn to food or alcohol to address depression. Winter brings great beauty but also potential hazards that should be kept in mind and addressed.

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After a period of heavy snowfall, you’ll likely see snowplows out on the streets in full force. To stay safe, it’s important to be patient and give these vehicles enough space to do their work. Here are three tips for sharing the road with snowplows. ● Keep your distance: Snowplows have a lot of blind spots, which can make it difficult for the driver to clearly see other road users. Make sure you’re visible by giving the snowplow enough room on all sides. ● Avoid passing: Although you have every legal right to pass a snowplow, it can be a risky maneuver. It’s safer to just be patient and stay the course. When trying to overtake a snowplow, you risk being momentarily blinded by a gust of snow, which could cause you to veer off the road. Besides, the freshly cleared road behind the snowplow is likely a lot nicer to drive on than the road in front. ● Adjust your speed: Do you get frustrated when you’re stuck behind a slow-moving snowplow? Try to keep your cool and remember that it’s essential for the plow to maintain a moderate speed to effectively do its job. Similarly, when two or three snowplows are spanning the road, it’s not to annoy you or prevent you from passing. It’s actually to avoid creating dangerous windrows in the middle of the road. It’s in your best interest to let these vehicles do their job. In addition, remember to always pay attention when you’re sharing the road with snowplows, and be sure to avoid cell phone use and other distractions.

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a lake or a pond might be. Safety experts advise against going out onto the ice alone, and to heed any thin ice signs posted. If you fall through ice, try to gain a grip to pull yourself up (ice picks are a good investment) and spread out on your belly once you get out of the water. Anyone who ventures onto ice can carry a whistle to signal for help, which is louder than yelling. Hypothermia sets in within 10 to 15 minutes, so acting fast is key. Ropes, boogie boards, a spare tire and other items also can be used to save someone from ice without going onto the ice itself.

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7 ways to get your car ready for winter Winter roads can be hazardous and unpredictable. Therefore, it’s best to be prepared for the worst. Here are a few ways you can make sure your car is ready for winter. ● Fix paint chips on the outside of your vehicle to prevent corrosion. You can get an exact match of the paint shade used on your vehicle from your local mechanic or car dealership. ● Stock your roadside emergency kit. It’s a good idea to include items such as a shovel, tow rope, jumper cables, flares, matches, traction aids, flashlights, warm clothing, an emergency blanket and a first aid kit. Remember to keep the lock de-icer on you, instead of in the car. ● Bring your car to a professional to have the spark plugs, brakes, fluid levels and block heater inspected before the cold weather hits. This will ensure everything is in good working order and help keep you safe on the road. ● Repair chips in your windshield. Even a minor dent can weaken your windshield, causing it to crack during the winter due to the drastic difference in temperature between the outside and inside of your car. ● Install rubber mats to help prevent your interior carpeting from becoming caked with mud, dirt and snow. If your car’s flooring becomes waterlogged with melted snow, it can fog up your windows. Remember to shake out your boots before getting in the car. ● Make an appointment for a rust-proofing treatment to protect your vehicle from corrosion. This is especially important if you park your car in a heated garage. ● Lubricate your car’s rubber door seals with a silicone spray. This will prevent your doors from freezing shut in the cold and ensure your seals remain in good condition. You may also want to invest in a roadside assistance membership for added peace of mind.

4 driving How to choose winter tires mistakes to Winter tires aren’t required avoid in winter by law in most U.S. states. Are you in the market for a new set of winter tires? If so, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind, including the size of the tire you require and the type of driving you plan on doing.

At times, driving conditions in winter can be treacherous. Consequently, it’s important to always remain vigilant when you’re behind the wheel. In addition, try to avoid making these four dangerous blunders. ● Using cruise control: The cruise control function on your car and slippery roads don’t mix. In fact, instead of slowing down your vehicle if it loses traction, this feature will accelerate your car to ensure it maintains a constant speed. This is a recipe for disaster, as you could easily lose control. ● Running on empty: If you park your car outdoors with a near-empty tank of gas, condensation could form in your tank and freeze. This could damage your car’s internal mechanisms. In addition, if you get stuck in a traffic jam or unexpected situation, you could easily find yourself stranded. ● Changing lanes unnecessarily: By changing lanes, you risk skidding on a patch of black ice or sinking into a snow drift. Overtaking another vehicle is especially dangerous on bridges and overpasses, as these freeze quickly due to their increased exposure to the elements. It’s best to simply stay in your lane when driving in severe weather conditions. ● Relying solely on all-wheel drive: Although vehicles with four-wheel drive generally react well in bad weather conditions, they don’t automatically keep you safe. It’s important to always remain vigilant when driving on winter roads. Avoiding these mistakes can help keep you and other road users safe. In addition, make sure you maintain a safe following distance and adjust your speed to suit the road conditions.

Snow tires are recommended for drivers who regularly travel on snow-covered roads, as they provide superior traction and can cut through slush. Ice tires, however, are best for drivers who do a lot of highway driving, where frozen asphalt and icy conditions are common. If you often take back roads that don’t get regularly cleared, you may want to consider purchasing studded tires. Just be aware that they can be quite noisy.

However, they’re highly recommended when driving or traveling in the northern parts of the country.

When it comes to winter tires, a higher price tag usually indicates a higher-quality product. Consequently, paying a bit more for a pair of winter tires that will last you several seasons is a good trade-off. You can count on the tires to be reliable, durable and keep you safe on the road. Watch out for sales to get the best value for your money. To find the right tires for your car, ask an expert in your area for advice. They’ll be able to answer your questions and suggest products that are suited to your needs.

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