A Few Facts About Extreme Cold Weather
Those of us living in Montana full time know that every winter we get a few days of extreme weather — Usually extremely cold weather.
Not ordinary cold like the Midwest, but bone chilling, I can’t feel my nose cold. The throw boiling water in the air and watch it freeze cold.
What Constitutes Extreme Cold?
Conditions will vary from place to place. For example in Minnesota, which often records some of the coldest temperatures in the U.S. might be vastly different from their neighboring states.
There are many injuries related to extreme cold and some classes of people are also at risk:
- Those over the age of 60 are susceptible to extremely cold temperatures.
- Extreme cold injuries occur 75 percent more with males.
- Surprisingly 20 percent of injuries related to cold occur in the home.
Extended exposure to extremely cold temperature can cause both frostbite and/or hypothermia and can be life threatening.
Very young children and the elderly are more quickly affected by prolonged exposure.
Temperatures don’t have to be below zero to injure you. Temperature of 40°F can be hazardous to infants and the elderly if wind chill is added to the mix.
If frostbite is suspected warm the affected extremities slowly.
Wind chill is a combination of wind speed and temperature. The greater the speed of the wind the more heat is carried away from our bodies and reducing the core body temperature.
People and animals are both affected by wind chill. If wind speed and temperature reach -20°F frostbite can happen in less than 30 minutes.
If you know the wind speed and temperature you can compute the wind chill by Clicking Here
Hypothermia is the lowering of the body temperature to 95° or below and can kill. If you experience hypothermia you might experience lasting kidney, liver and pancreas problems.
Treatment for Hypothermia is different than for frostbite. If you warm the extremities first that can drive cold blood to the heart and could possibly cause heart failure.
Warm the body core first. Covering the head and neck with a warm blanket. No alcohol, coffee, drugs, hot beverages of food.
Warm broth would be a good start.
Some Final Thoughts
We are always going to have extreme weather in Montana. We live with a variety of extremes when it comes to weather. As we weather the cold weather please be careful of low temperatures and drive safely.
Tonight we’re looking for a low of 25° below zero. Hope my car starts for radio on Saturday.