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City warns residents to take precautions in bitter cold | Environment

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City warns residents to take precautions in bitter cold
City warns residents to take precautions in bitter cold

Amid forecasts of extreme cold in the next few days, the city of Madison said residents should take precautions to stay safe and be vigilant for the well-being of others. 

News 3 Chief Meteorologist Gary Cannalte said low temperatures Thursday will fall into the teens below zero with wind chills as cold as minus 30. Wind chill advisories go into effect Thursday evening and continue through Friday morning.

Friday will be partly sunny and windy with high temperatures in the mid-teens and wind chills as cold as minus 15.

The city suggested several precautions residents should take during the extreme cold, including:

  • Check heating units and carbon monoxide detectors. Poorly operating or damaged heating units can release carbon monoxide gas
  • Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. Temperatures in vehicles can drop rapidly
  • Pets can be greatly affected by the cold and should not be exposed long
  • Never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices inside the home, basement, garage or near a window
  • Wear appropriate clothing that will be adequately insulating from the cold when outdoors
  • Be aware of the amount and intensity of physical activity, both indoors and out. Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts additional strain on the body, especially the heart.
  • Keep in mind older adults, people in fragile health and small children are more affected by the cold than the average adult
  • Check on loved ones and neighbors, preferably by telephone

The state Department of Military Affairs said Thursday afternoon that Wisconsinites planning on traveling during extreme cold should pack a winter emergency kit to keep in the vehicle. The kit should include candles, matches, a flashlight, pocket knife, snacks, cell phone adapter, a blanket and extra clothing.

The city also said the bitter cold can cause frostbite and hypothermia in as few as 10 minutes.

Symptoms of frostbite include the loss of feeling and color in parts of the body.

Signs of hypothermia can include uncontrollable shivering, numbness, drowsiness, exhaustion, confusion, memory lapses, slow or slurred speech, slow breathing, slow pulse, failing eyesight, poor coordination and possible unconsciousness.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia should seek immediate emergency medical assistance, city officials said.

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