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This story was updated at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, with more information.

Temperatures in the Chattanooga area are expected to drop Tuesday evening, along with rain and a wintry mix overnight. Wednesday morning will be below freezing and temperatures will remain in the 40s throughout the day. 

The Hamilton County Office of Emergency Management, along with Tennessee American Water have gathered some useful tips on how to prepare for the cold weather ahead:

 

Keeping your home warm:

* Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. 

* Make sure your fireplace is clean and check for summer critters before starting a fire.

* Make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed. If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

* If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away — things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains and rugs.

* Turn off space heaters before leaving the room or going to bed. 

* Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.

* Never operate a generator inside the home, including the basement or garage.

 

Preventing your water pipes from breaking or freezing:

* Wrap your pipes with insulation or an electrical pipe heater — material such as fabric or newspaper can be used.

* Open cabinet doors to expose your pipes to warmer room temperatures.

* Set the thermostat at no lower than 55 degrees — this setting is generally considered to be safe for pipes.

*  Sprinkler or irrigation systems should be turned off and fully drained. 

* Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows and doors. 

 

Emergency plans and kits: 

* Create a family emergency plan and an emergency kit with bottled water and food that can be prepared without cooking — kit should include bottled water, canned or dry food, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, extra batteries, a manual can opener and a first aid kit. 

* Create a winter kit for your car — kit should include a blanket, a spare radio with batteries, snacks, jumper cables, a shovel, and sand to give the tires traction. 

 

If you plan on braving the cold:

* Dress in layers, wear a hat and gloves to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. 

 

How to help others: 

* Volunteers are needed to help serve at the Salvation Army shelter. For volunteer information, email Lauren.Russek@uss.salvationarmy.org, or call 423-505-9747.

* Donations of towels, toiletries, new heaters or money are being accepted at The Salvation Army, 822 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37403. Monetary donations can also be made online at www.csarmy.org. For additional information, please call The Salvation Army at 423-756-1023.

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