Temperatures Dropping Below Zero and Wind Chills Expected as Low as 30 Degrees Below Zero in Several Upstate Locations
Prolonged Exposure to Frigid Temperatures Can Turn Deadly
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today continued to urge New Yorkers to use caution while outdoors this weekend as a polar vortex is forecast to continue funneling cold Arctic air into New York through Sunday morning. Temperatures are forecast to fall below zero in several upstate locations, with wind chills expected to plummet as low as 30 degrees below zero in the North Country, Mohawk Valley and Capital Region. Conditions are expected to last through Sunday morning, when residents in the Adirondacks will wake up to temperatures as low as -15 degrees. Temperatures like these increase the risk of frostbite and hypothermia, as well as potentially causing water main breaks and pipe bursts from exposure to prolonged cold. Additionally, forecasters are also tracking a potential storm system moving up the east coast that could bring several inches of snow to New York, if it does not shift out to sea.
"New York is in the midst of another wave of extreme cold as climate change increasingly requires us to cope with erratic and severe weather as well as hundred-year storms that happen twice a year," Governor Cuomo said. "While outdoor activities are a staple of winter in New York, this cold has created a really dangerous situation that will continue for the next day or two. During that time, it's critical for New Yorkers to not only be smart but to limit their own household's exposure to the elements."
Friday night, areas in the North Country, Mohawk Valley and Capital Region could see wind chills fall as low as -30 degrees, while other locations across the state may see wind chills drop to -5 to -15 degrees at times. Wind gusts across the state could reach 25 to 40 mph in some locations, especially in New York City, Long Island, and the Capital Region, further increasing the danger of harsh wind chill effects. On Saturday night, low temperatures will likely remain around or below zero degrees for many upstate locations.
For warming shelters in your area, contact your local emergency management office. For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.
Extreme Cold Safety
- Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air between the layers acts as an insulator. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded.
- Always wear a hat or cap on your head since half of your body heat could be lost through an uncovered head.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
- Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other.
Winter storm conditions and cold waves are the deadliest types of weather as cold temperatures put an extra strain on your heart. Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car can increase the risk of a heart attack. To avoid problems, remember these tips:
- Stay warm, dress warm and SLOW DOWN when working outdoors.
- Take frequent rests to avoid over-exertion.
- If you feel chest pain -- STOP and seek help immediately.
Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, especially in children and the elderly.
Watch for these symptoms:
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor coordination
- Slurred speech
- Uncontrollable shivering followed by sudden lack of shivering
If a person's body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, seek emergency medical assistance immediately. Remove wet clothing, wrap victim in warm blankets, and give warm, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids until help arrives.
- People working or playing outdoors during the winter can develop frostbite and not even know it. There is no pain associated with the early stages of frostbite, so learn to watch for these danger signs:
- Skin may feel numb and become flushed, then turns white or grayish-yellow; frostbitten skin feels cold to the touch.
- If frostbite is suspected, move the victim to a warm area and cover the affected area with something warm and dry. Never rub it!
- Get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible.
For more cold weather safety tips, please visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/winter.