The combination of arctic air and brisk winds have led to some of the most dangerously cold wind chill values we’ve experienced in quite some time. During cold weather like this, the National Weather Service encourages residents to take the following precautions:
- Stay inside as much as possible and limit time spent outdoors in the cold
- Dress in layers and keep clothes and footwear dry
- Check in on family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk or unable to travel
- Know the signs of cold-related health issues (frostbite, hypothermia)
- Bring your pet indoors
- Make sure your vehicle is equipped with an emergency kit which includes a blanket, flashlight, batteries, snacks, water, warm clothing, ice scraper, and jumper cables
In extremely cold conditions like this, frostbite (ice crystals forming in veins, blocking the flow of blood) can occur in minutes. Frostbite is most common in fingers, ears, cheeks, nose and chin, and initial signs include skin appearing to be white or grey/yellow in color, waxy or firm feeling skin, and numbness. Hypothermia, a condition where your body loses heat faster than it produces it, is another dangerous cold-related illness to be aware of. Warning signs of hypothermia include shivering, confusion, difficulty speaking, and sleepiness. If you experience any of these signs seek shelter immediately. More winter weather safety tips can be found here. Stay warm, Elk River!