Prepare for upcoming intense heat

It’s the first day of spring! While some of us may be rejoicing that warmer weather will soon be here, the rest of us are not looking forward to it — especially Southerners.

After living in North Carolina and now Georgia, I’ve experienced the extreme heat and humidity. It is not fun, and it can be very dangerous.

Typically from March to September are the months to be weary. This is when you start to hear the sad news about people leaving their pets or children in their cars and they die of heat illness. You may also hear of people working outside and suffering from heat strokes. Soldiers, construction workers and many others are at a disadvantage with their uniforms and heavy gear.

I can’t stress enough the importance of preparing for the heat before it gets here. I just wrote an article for my job regarding heat safety (information provided by the Fort Benning safety office) for Soldiers and the heat mitigation tools they use: Soldiers urged to prepare for upcoming heat. This can also be put into life outside the military. Please read the article by clicking here and educate yourself on how to keep yourself and others safe.

I wrote a blog post last year about keeping pets safe in the heat: Keep pets safe in extreme heat. Again, please read this article to prepare yourself, your family and pets before the heat and humidity arrive.

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Photo source: www.uab.edu

This is a crucial and scary time of the year, and I hope you take this blog post seriously.

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Winter Storm Jonas

This is about a week late, but I finally had time to upload some Winter Storm Jonas photos my friends and family sent to me. According to The Weather Channel, “Winter Storm Jonas produced prolific amounts of snow in parts of the East, rivaling infamous snowstorms of the recent past. Snowfall totals from the storm topped out near 42 inches in West Virginia and at least 14 states in total received more than a foot of snow from the storm.”

This storm was one for the books, that’s for sure!

Many people sent me these photos since I couldn’t experience this storm for myself. My family and friends never let me down!

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We recently found out we will be moving back to Central New York this spring, and I can’t wait to be back up north to experience these crazy winters!

My ABC11 Eyewitness News experience

I had the opportunity to shadow ABC11 Eyewitness News Reporter, Nicole Carr, for the day. I met Nicole back in April 2015 when Fort Bragg Federal Credit Union hosted its first ever Scavenger Hunt. My boss and I put the Scavenger Hunt together and got over 1300 new followers on social media from its popularity. You can read more about the Scavenger Hunt and the interview we had with Nicole by clicking here. Nicole is very outgoing and friendly, so I thought I would take a shot at asking her if I could come in for the day to explore the life of a reporter. I was absolutely elated when she gladly said yes.

I have always been interested in working for a news station or The Weather Channel®. I find the work to be unexpected and fun, which is exactly how it was when I came in that day to shadow Nicole.

We planned on having a calm morning and Nicole was going to show me how the reporters go about their day at the office, but like she said, you never know what your day is going to be like when you get into work. As soon as we got to the office, Nicole got a call that she had to go to the location of a murder investigation right here in Fayetteville. I followed the ABC11 Eyewitness News van to the scene.

Little was known about the murder and what exactly happened when we arrived. The scene was filled with sheriffs, news reporters, photographers, and strangers asking about what happened. The house was blocked off by caution tape and police cars. Residents had to consult the sheriffs before heading into their neighborhood.

As more information was coming in, we found out that a 28-year-old was shot and killed while his girlfriend was tied up. The girlfriend was able to untie herself and call 911. She was lucky to be alive; however, the three masked men who robbed the home and killed her boyfriend are still on the loose.

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A woman who lives close back to the murder location stopped to ask what was going on. She said it is hard to tell if anything bad ever happens there because gun shots are always being fired due to people killing crows or other animals who may “disturb” their land. She also said she was robbed twice since she lived there.

As the day went on I got to experience this sad story come to life, but I also got to witness how news reporting works. Nicole had to search for witnesses and try to gather more for the developing story, but we came up empty. Nicole had to report live at noon at then again at 12:30 p.m. while I was shadowing her. I got to put the receiver in my ear and listen in on the cues and news anchors sharing stories. It was a very cool experience. It was strange to listen to the news that way instead of watching it on TV like I do every morning. It was thrilling! Nicole also showed me how she has to write up a script for each story she is involved in as well as record and edit footage to be packaged for upcoming news segments.

Nicole gave me some great tips on news reporting and I am glad I got to spend the day with her. Although a sad and unfortunate story was occurring, that day showed me that I truly do enjoy the news and love everything about it. You get to travel and meet new people everywhere you go. I think the most important part about being involved with the news is that you learn something new each day. You can never fill your brain with too much information!

Keep pets safe in extreme heat

The extreme heat conditions during the summer months can be detrimental to your pets. It is important to take caution when taking your pets outside, bringing them for a ride in the car, leaving them outside while you go shopping, and all of the other instances where your pets leave the house. Even if your pets do not leave the house on hot days, it is still highly suggested that you ensure your pet is hydrated at all times and has ample access to air conditioning. I’ve heard several sad stories from this week alone of pets suffering heat strokes and passing away from the hot conditions. Please be mindful of your pets and remember to keep them safe!

Right now in Fayetteville, North Carolina it is 102 degrees. It has been between 96 and 102 degrees each day this week so far, and it may cool down a bit in the upcoming days, but only to about 92 degrees. The humidity does not help us either!

While some people enjoy this weather and make it out to be a fun day at the pool or the beach, most of us get very tired and miserable from this weather (I’m definitely one of the tired and miserable ones). I have a hard time being outside when it is THAT hot. I know my three-year-old dog, Scrappy (a lab/pit mix), is not a fan of this weather either. We take one lap around the block and he is ready to go back inside and hang out on the cool tile floor all day. My 11-year-old foster dog, Eli, is also not a fan of the heat. He has LOTS of fur and is only 14 lbs. During this weather we all take shorter walks and spend less time outside. We also drink plenty of water!

Here are some great tips to keep your pets safe during these hot and humid summer months:

1) KEEP YOUR PET HYDRATED. I cannot express enough how vital this is. If your pet is not hydrated it will increase his or her risk of suffering a heat stroke.

2) PROVIDE THE PROPER AIR AND SHADE. Do NOT leave your pet outside on hot and humid days. Even if your dog has shade, or even a dog house, he or she can still suffer a heat stroke (sometimes these areas can get hotter). It is best to leave your pet inside and provide air conditioning and fans to help keep your pet(s) cool. Just leaving a fan on will not do justice; it is best to have air circulating throughout the house.

3) DON’T BRING YOUR DOGS IN THE CAR. Too many times people bring their pet(s) to daycare or to a friend’s house and  forget they are in the car. I just heard of a story yesterday where a woman was coming home from grocery shopping and her dogs jumped in the car as she was unloading her purchases. She didn’t notice they jumped in the car and unfortunately both of them suffered a heat stroke. Even when it is 70 degrees outside, it is still dangerous to leave your pet in the car. The temperatures rise VERY quickly in automobiles. During these times, do not even think about putting your pet in the car. You may think “I could never forget my dog is in the car” – but unfortunately this happens to the best of animal lovers quite often.

4) HUMIDITY MAKES THE HEAT WORSE. Always check the humidity, too. When it is very humid outside it can make it hard for your pet to breathe and get the proper ventilation in his or her body. Their body temperatures will increase rapidly.

5) LIMIT OUTDOOR/EXERCISE ACTIVITY. It is best to keep your pets inside and limit their exercise during the hot times. Making them too tired and dehydrated, again, increases their risk of suffering a heat stroke.

6) WATCH FOR SIGNS OF A HEAT STROKE. The Humane Society of the United States says “Extreme temperatures can cause heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness. Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.”

How do you treat a pet when he or she suffers a heat stroke? Take him/her directly to a veterinarian. Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let her drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes (Source: The Humane Society of the United States).

I hope you read this and take it seriously. Pets are family, too – they deserve to have the same care as us humans! For more tips on keeping your pet safe in the heat, check out this article from The Humane Society of the United States.

Winter Storm Octavia

Winter Storm Octavia did not back down yesterday into today. Fayetteville, where I live, got approximately .29 inches of solid ice (for more snow and ice total reports, click here). Check out some pictures I took below to get a better idea of how much ice we really had. It took almost an hour for me to clear off my car!

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Another fact about Winter Storm Octavia is that this same exact day/weekend has brought winter weather to North Carolina for the past three straight years. The reason I know this is because my dog, Sable, passed away on February 16, 2013. It snowed here the day she died. Last year it snowed the same exact weekend. This year, yesterday and today, she has brought winter weather to us again. I truly think that is a sign she is looking out for me! I never get to experience this weather because I for some reason have bad luck with this – but she always makes it work the same weekend every year!

Unfortunately I did not blog about the first experience with this in 2013, but I do have a photo of the moment on my Instagram which you can see here. To read more about Sable and previous storms, click these links to go to my previous posts: Winter Storm Leon and Another Major Storm Hits the South… Winter Storm Pax!

Blue Ridge Parkway & Chimney Rock

The most beautiful fall drive I’ve ever experienced! I love fall. If you love fall just as much as I do, I suggest you visit the Blue Ridge Parkway. These pictures do not do justice to how amazing it truly is. My fiancé and I visited Asheville, North Carolina this past weekend and got to drive on it for a bit, but I would love to do the full 469-mile route in the future! Check out some of the photos I took below!

P.S. we got to see a bear, too! 🙂

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We also visited Chimney Rock State Park. On a clear day you can see the mountains and Lake Lure from the top of Chimney Rock. Unfortunately, it was a very foggy day so we couldn’t see much, but it was still pretty neat! After walking down Chimney Rock, we then walked on a trail to Hickory Nut Falls.

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Another Major Storm Hits the South… Winter Storm Pax!

This winter has been pretty intense for most of the USA this year. The south eastern parts of the country have seen very cold temperatures and a couple of snow storms, which is not a normal winter for southerners. Living in North Carolina for a over a year has been quite interesting. I’m from Rome, NY, so when southerners get nervous about winter weather, I usually think it’s nothing to worry about… until Winter Storm Pax arrived. I can honestly say that Winter Storm Pax was a dangerous storm and even people from up North would say the same! From getting an inch of snow an hour to almost two inches of solid ice on the roads, this storm was epic to say the least.

It was definitely an epic storm for Jim Cantore.  I tweeted him a picture of the icy roads here in Fayetteville, NC and he replied! This obviously made my day. I was so excited!

Jim Cantore replied to my tweet!

Jim Cantore replied to my tweet!

If you read my previous post about Winter Storm Leon occurring on the day before and day of Sable’s birthday, you will also want to know that Winter Storm Pax came around the time Sable had passed away. I think this is her way of saying everything will be okay! Also as I said before, I never get lucky to experience bad weather, and she is allowing me to do so!

Since I had two snow days in a row due to the weather, I had some time to capture some photos of the storm. Take a look below! You will also see my dogs, Toby and Scrappy, playing in the snow – Toby loves it as he is part husky, but Scrappy isn’t a fan of the cold!

Superstorm Sandy

When the news came out that Hurricane Sandy was going to be historic, many didn’t believe the meteorologists. People, including my own friends and family, said the Weather Channel was just building up this storm too much. I, however, knew this storm was going to be epic. I followed the Weather Channel every minute of the day that I could. If I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d check for updates, just to make sure I didn’t miss a thing. When the Sandy made landfall, it got very hard to keep up with the news..only because most of it was so devastating. The storm was and still is going strong, but the damage it has brought to Cuba, Jamaica, Bermuda and the United States’ east coast was unbelievable.

My friend Jamie is just as obsessed with the weather as I am. Each hour we were giving each other updates on what we heard or experienced with the storm. We also made sure we kept in touch with our friends in the New York City area to be sure they were taking the proper precautions of the storm and most importantly, to reassure them to take this storm seriously.

I knew the storm was going to be terrifying because another one of my friends, Laci, told me about the wind and flooding going on around her condo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The most important part about this was that the storm did not even make landfall at this point, but it was still causing damaging winds and flooding to surrounding areas. Laci sent me a couple photos of the flooding that was STILL occurring after the storm had passed Florida and made its way to the North Carolina coast. That was when I realized how massive this storm really was.

flooding in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Once Sandy made it to the North Carolina coast, my boyfriend Ryan and I immediately decided to drive to Wrightsville Beach to experience the epic storm. While the storm was not at full potential yet, the winds and waves were still very intense. I walked on the beach for about five minutes before I was completely drenched and full of sand. Again, this is when the storm was not even close to shore yet nor at its full potential.

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My day was made when I put my photos up on Instagram and added the hashtag #iWitnessWeather and received a ‘like’ from the Weather Channel. I had been trying to get their attention for so long – it was awesome to feel noticed for my work! 🙂

At first I was upset I was not at my home in Rome, NY to experience this massive hurricane, but I quickly changed my mind once Jamie had sent me a video of the waves hitting the coast of Rhode Island. At that point, there were wind gusts of 86 mph were recorded -BEFORE the storm made landfall! It also had 18-24 hours until the storm was going to hit land.

Meteorologists were unsure of where it would actually arrive on land, they were thinking right around New Jersey and Delaware. But when early evening hit on Monday, Sandy made landfall right off of the New Jersey coast.

What many people forget about this storm was that it collided with an arctic storm, causing winter storm warnings in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and parts of western North  Carolina. So we had a mix of snow, rain, wind, thunderstorms, and much more that became components of Sandy.

So many disasters occurred Monday evening. It made it hard to watch the Weather Channel and the news: learning about the dangling crane, injuries and deaths, the power outage at the NYU hospital that forced patients to evacuate, flooded subway stations and the Breezy Point fire – and that is just some of the news. Before I went to bed, about 1 million people were without power. When I woke up, nearly 6.5 million people were without power. Less than an hour later, over 8 million people were without power. This is twice the amount of power outages compared to Hurricane Irene, which destroyed the east coast last October.

The scary part about today is, Sandy is still not over.