This year, we enjoyed pleasant temperatures well into December. But, winter is finally here!
Cold temperatures can affect the entire country in winter, but extreme cold can be especially dangerous. More than 1,300 people die each year from hypothermia. Hypothermia sets in when your body’s temperature drops below 95 degrees. Frostbite may develop on exposed skin when temperatures are below freezing. Strong winds combined with below freezing temperatures can make frostbite occur even quicker. Many times during winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the polar vortex will expand and send very cold air southward into portions of the United States. This occurs fairly regularly during wintertime and is often associated with large outbreaks of Arctic air in the United States. During late January through February 2015, much of the Northeast experienced the coldest conditions in decades. For parts of the Lower Great Lakes and New England some of the greatest total snowfall and coldest temperatures on record, many of which go back well over 100 years, occurred during this time.
What to Do: Dress for the season: wear loose warm clothing in layers. To prevent frostbite and hypothermia while outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing with water repellent outer garments. Remove layers during your activities to prevent sweating. Change wet clothing as quickly as possible to prevent loss of body heat. Cover all parts of your body, especially your head, hands, face, and mouth to protect your lungs from very cold air. Stay out of the wind when possible. Drink plenty of fluids since hydration increases the blood's volume, which helps prevent frostbite. Hypothermia can even happen inside your home, and is most likely to impact elderly and infants. Keep your thermostat at 68 degrees or warmer to avoid hypothermia from happening in your home. Make sure you know the warning signs associated with cold-related illness and what actions to take to protect you and your loved ones.