FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 2, 2014
CONTACT: Jennifer Miller, (608)
Tod Pritchard, WEM, Office: (608) 242-3324 Cell:(608) 219-4008
Life-Threatening Cold Air to Grip Wisconsin
State agencies team up to warn residents
MADISON—Wisconsin needs to be ready for a dangerous blast of arctic
air that will be moving into the state Sunday night and hovering over
through Tuesday. The system will drop temperatures and wind chills to
levels not seen since 1996, causing potentially life threatening
The Departments of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP),
Health Services (DHS) and ReadyWisconsin are teaming up to warn people
about the upcoming bitter weather and precautions you and your family
Forecast – The National Weather Service says cold air will
begin pouring into Wisconsin Saturday night and into Sunday. The coldest
stretch will be Sunday night through Tuesday. Meteorologists are
predicting lows Sunday night of -10 to -25 with wind chills at -30 to
-40. Monday, highs will reach only -5 to -15 with wind chills remaining
in the -30 to -40 danger zone.
Health Risks – With these bitter temperatures, beware of
hypothermia and frostbite.
Frostbite can occur on exposed skin in less than 10 minutes. Symptoms
include a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers,
toes, ear tips and tip of the nose. Limit your time outside. If you see
these signs, seek medical care immediately!
Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling
hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness in adults and
children. In infants, symptoms can include bright red or cold skin and
very low energy. If you notice anyone exhibiting any of the symptoms of
hypothermia, seek medical care immediately!
Carbon Monoxide Danger – Carbon monoxide is the leading cause
of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Breathing carbon
monoxide displaces the oxygen in the blood and can cause death within
minutes at high levels. Symptoms of overexposure to carbon monoxide are
often mistaken for the flu and include headaches, fatigue, dizziness,
shortness of breath/chest pain, nausea/vomiting, and confusion. If you
or someone you know experience any of these symptoms, or your carbon
monoxide detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh
air and call 911.
“No doubt furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and other home heating
devices will be working overtime during these extremely cold
temperatures and that can increase the risk for carbon monoxide
poisoning,” said Karen McKeown, State Health Officer. Never run a
gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home
or an unventilated garage. Any heating system that burns fuel will
produce carbon monoxide. Never run a car in an enclosed space. If a
vehicle is running, you must have a door open to the outside. Generators
should be run a safe distance from the home. Never run a generator in
the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors. Make sure you
have a working carbon monoxide detector.
Pet Precautions – While our pets might seem to have built-in,
warm winter coats, they too are sensitive to the elements. It is
recommended to bring them indoors during this bitter weather. Dogs and
cats can get frost bitten ears, nose and feet if left outside during
bitter cold weather. Chemicals used to melt snow and ice can also
irritate pets' paws - be sure to keep anti-freeze, salt and other
poisons away from pets.
Cats sometimes crawl under cars and into the engine compartment,
seeking shelter and warmth. Bang on the hood before starting the car on
cold days to startle sleeping animals. And remember, just as cars heat
to oven temperature in summer, they can be equally deadly in winter when
they turn into freezers. Don’t leave your pet alone in a vehicle. It may
freeze to death.
Livestock Precautions – Animals can suffer from hypothermia,
frostbite and other cold weather injuries. Harsh conditions weaken their
immune systems and open the door to illness. Calves and swine are
especially susceptible to cold. Make sure animals have a place to get
out of the wind, even if it is just a windbreak or a three-sided
shelter. Also provide dry bedding to protect them from frostbite.
Animals also burn extra calories to keep warm in severe cold. They also
need access to fresh water – not frozen streams or snow. Stock tank
heaters and frost-proof watering devices will ensure that livestock get
enough to drink.
“Livestock owners need to provide extra nutrition, plenty of good
bedding, and protection from winds and moisture,” says state humane
veterinarian Dr. Yvonne Bellay. “Calves often have undetected pneumonia
that kills quickly when the temperature drops. Be particularly careful
with animals that have recently been brought here from a warmer climate
or that have been indoors and are now outdoors. If they’re not
acclimated, they’ll suffer more winter illness.”
On the road – If you are traveling make sure you have a winter
emergency kit in your vehicle. Items to include in the kit are candles
and matches, a flashlight, pocket knife, snacks, a cell phone adapter, a
blanket and extra clothing. Also check with 511WI for road conditions.
For additional information go to:
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January 03, 2014