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Bundle Up, SOMA: ‘Life-Threatening’ Cold to Hit Region Valentine’s Day Weekend

The coldest temperatures so far this winter (and possibly since two winters ago) are moving into the Northeast – and locals would do well to prepare for the arctic blast.

(In case you were wondering, yes, you can blame the polar vortex.)

According to the latest National Weather Service alert issued Thursday morning, bitterly cold temperatures will plague the region this weekend, with temps Saturday night into early Sunday morning falling to zero to five below in Northeastern New Jersey — but with wind chill temps that could reach “life threatening levels” of 20-25 BELOW zero.

The worst temperatures are expected to be from Saturday night through Sunday morning. The NWS advises that frostbite and hypothermia are real concerns, as are frozen pipes, overwhelmed furnaces and dying car batteries.

Be cautious about taking out pets in this cold, too.

PSEG offered the following tips to keep home heating systems working:

Preparing for Frigid Weekend Weather 

PSE&G is monitoring its gas system and has additional personnel on staff and standby to ensure it can meet the heating demands of customers. We are prepared to quickly respond to emergency “no heat” calls and electric outages during the frigid weather predicted for this weekend.

“Throughout the weekend we will operate and manage our gas distribution system to ensure our customers have the gas they need to keep their homes warm and businesses running,” said Joe Forline, vice president of gas operations for PSE&G. “Over the past several years we have replaced critical feeds in our gas distribution system. This and other infrastructure investments have strengthened our system’s performance and reliability.”

Since Tuesday, PSE&G has received about 2,000 “no heat” calls from customers. “We expect that number to spike this weekend when people are home and furnaces are working extra hard,” said Forline. “Customers should be aware that although their heating systems may be working properly, the frigid temperatures make it difficult for furnaces to maintain the same thermostat setting.”

If your heating system is not working properly or if you need to report a “no heat” incident, schedule an appointment by calling 800-436-PSEG (7734) or online through My Account at pseg.com.

Your safety is important to us, so please:

  • If you smell gas, act fast. Open windows and doors, go outside or to a neighbor’s house, and call PSE&G at 1-800-880-PSEG (7734), or call 911.
  • Never use a gas range to heat a room or apartment. The appliance will deplete oxygen from the air, causing asphyxiation or deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Remember to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors for proper operation and replace their batteries at least once every year. While CO poisoning is a year-round threat, it is much more common in cold weather when more fuel heating appliances are in use.

While annual bills for PSE&G’s typical gas heating customer are 55 percent lower than they were in 2009 due to supply rate reductions and gas bill credits, we are always looking to help you better manage your usage and keep your costs low.

Use these tips to stay warm, and save money on your bills:

  • Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use.
  • Close and latch your windows.
  • Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers.
  • Remove or cover window air conditioners to reduce drafts.
  • Open your curtains and blinds that face the sun on sunny days to warm your home, and close them at night to keep the warm air inside. Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up cracks and prevent drafts in windows and doorframes.
  • Beneath doors, install draft guards available at hardware stores.
  • Keep your garage door closed if the garage is attached to the house.
  • Check for sufficient water levels in the sight glass for steam heating systems to ensure maximum efficiency. Clean or replace the furnace filter on hot air heating systems.

More energy saving tips and tools are available at pseg.com/saveenergy

See the full NWS weather alert below:

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Special Weather Statement issued February 11 at 11:27AM EST by NWS Upton NY
Areas Affected: Middlesex; Queens; New London; Putnam; Richmond; Kings; Bronx; Westchester; Bergen; Essex; Hudson; Union; New York; Nassau; Fairfield; Suffolk; Rockland; Passaic

BITTERLY COLD TEMPERATURES WILL MOVE INTO THE AREA THIS WEEKEND.

* TEMPERATURES SATURDAY NIGHT INTO EARLY SUNDAY MORNING WILL FALL
CLOSE TO ZERO IN AND AROUND NEW YORK CITY…AND ZERO TO 5 BELOW
ACROSS LONG ISLAND…INTERIOR NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY…THE LOWER
HUDSON VALLEY…AND SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT. WIND CHILL VALUES
DURING THIS TIME COULD REACH LIFE THREATENING LEVELS AS COLD AS
20 TO 25 BELOW ZERO.

* HIGH TEMPERATURES ON SUNDAY WILL ONLY BE IN THE TEENS.

* COLD SPELLS OF THIS MAGNITUDE BRING A RISK OF FROSTBITE AND
HYPOTHERMIA FOR ANYONE WHO DOES NOT TAKE PROPER PRECAUTIONS. IN
ADDITION…FROZEN PIPES AND OVERWORKED FURNACES COULD LEAVE YOUR
HOUSE WITHOUT HEAT OR RUNNING WATER…AND CAR BATTERIES RUN THE
RISK OF DYING.

* NEVER VENTURE OUTDOORS WITHOUT WEARING GLOVES…A HAT AND
SEVERAL LAYERS OF CLOTHING. WIND CHILL VALUES LATE SATURDAY
NIGHT INTO SUNDAY MORNING COULD LEAD TO FROSTBITE IN LESS THAN
30 MINUTES IF PROPER PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN.

* RUN WATER AT A TRICKLE AND KEEP CABINET DOORS OPEN TO PREVENT
PIPES FROM FREEZING.

* NEVER USE A STOVE OR OVEN TO HEAT YOUR HOME OR USE AN OPEN FLAME
TO MELT FROZEN PIPES. MANY HOUSE FIRES RESULT FROM THESE
PRACTICES.

* CHECK TIRE PRESSURE AND YOUR CAR BATTERY. BE SURE YOUR CAR HAS
A WINTER SAFETY KIT THAT INCLUDES A BLANKET…WARM CLOTHES AND
GLOVES IN CASE YOUR CAR BREAKS DOWN OR BECOMES STRANDED.

* TAKE EXTRA STEPS TO KEEP YOUR PETS WARM AND KNOW THEIR LIMITS TO
COLD.

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