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Cold Weather Creeps Into the Triangle

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RALEIGH — Get out your electric blanket and wool socks. It is going to be cold. Temperatures are expected to dip into the 20s, and if you have not winter weatherized your home, plants and car, now is the time to get started.

When you see professional plant dealers hustling to beat the cold weather, you know it is time to get ready.

Experts say house plants need to be moved inside. If you have outside plants that have not been placed in the ground yet, now is the time to do that because the root ball can freeze above the ground.

If you need to cover any plants or shrubs, use fabric instead of plastic.

"If you put plastic on and you forget to take the plastic off in the morning, when the sun comes out, it will heat it up too much. It will cook your plants," said nursery owner Scott Thomas.

Cars can also use some attention.

You already know that anti-freeze is crucial, but you should not neglect the window cleaner.

Fill it up but not with water. Watering it down could leave you with a frozen windshield.

You should also check your car's oil. Worn-out, dirty oil is the last thing your car needs on a 20-degree morning.

"During cold start ups, as much lubrication as you can get as soon as possible helps to prevent any mechanical engine damage from lack of lubrication," said auto shop manager Greg Williamson.

However, the heater at home is not as user-friendly. About the only thing you can do is change the filter once a month and call the professionals to clean and check the system.

"Especially on a gas unit. When you've got gas involved, it's better to call a professional," said service center owner Stuart Batten.

You do have a little time left to prepare. Experts say it takes more than one cold night to really make a mess of things.

Most Hurricane Floyd victims are ready for this cold snap, but they hope it does not last long.

People in the Rocky Mount FEMA park say their trailers do have heat, but keeping them warm is not easy.

Many fear the propane tanks they use will run out in the middle of the night.

Other people in RV trailers worry the cold will bring more misery to their unheated, flood-damaged homes in the form of frozen pipes.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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