Winter Safety and Wind Chill Index - WBAY

StormCenter 2 Safety Tips

Winter Safety and Wind Chill Index

Winter storms cause more damage and kill more people every year in Wisconsin than tornadoes, lightning, and floods. Winter weather has many dangers, from snow and wind to extreme cold, ice, and fog.

Prolonged exposure to extreme cold can cause frostbite or hypothermia (infants and the elderly are most susceptible). Below you'll find tips for winter safety whether you're indoors or outdoors, and how to recognize signs of frostbite and hypothermia.


The Wind Chill Index below shows what cold weather accompanied by wind feels like against exposed flesh.
 

Equivalent Temperature ("feels like")

Calm

40

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

-5

-10

-15

-20

-25

-30

-35

-40

-45

5 mph

36

31

25

19

13

7

1

-5

-11

-16

-22

-28

-34

-40

-46

-52

-57

-63

10 mph

34

27

21

15

9

3

-4

-10

-16

-22

-28

-35

-41

-47

-53

-59

-66

-72

15 mph

32

25

19

13

6

0

-7

-13

-19

-26

-32

-39

-45

-51

-58

-64

-71

-77

20 mph

30

24

17

11

4

-2

-9

-15

-22

-29

-35

-42

-48

-55

-61

-68

-74

-81

25 mph

29

23

16

9

3

-4

-11

-17

-24

-31

-37

-44

-51

-58

-64

-71

-78

-84

30 mph

28

22

15

8

1

-5

-12

-19

-26

-33

-39

-46

-53

-60

-67

-73

-80

-87

35 mph

28

21

14

7

0

-7

-14

-21

-27

-34

-41

-48

-55

-62

-69

-76

-82

-89

40 mph

27

20

13

6

-1

-8

-15

-22

-29

-36

-43

-50

-57

-64

-71

-78

-84

-91

45 mph

26

19

12

5

-2

-9

-16

-23

-30

-37

-44

-51

-58

-65

-72

-79

-86

-93

50 mph

26

19

12

4

-3

-10

-17

-24

-31

-38

-45

-52

-60

-67

-74

-81

-88

-95

55 mph

25

18

11

4

-3

-11

-18

-25

-32

-39

-46

-54

-61

-68

-75

-82

-89

-97

60 mph

25

17

10

3

-4

-11

-19

-26

-33

-40

-48

-55

-62

-69

-76

-84

-91

-98

Color Key: Frostbite occurs within
30 minutes

10 minutes

5 minutes
Formula: Wind Chill (oF) = 35.74 + (0.6215*T) - (35.75*(V0.16)) + (0.4275*(T0.16))
T = Air Temperature (oF) V = Wind Speed (mph)

   Watches and Warnings   

Winter Storm Watch
Severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice are possible within the next day or two. Prepare now!

Winter Storm Warning
Severe winter conditions have begun or are about to begin in your area. Stay indoors!

Blizzard Warning
Snow and strong winds will combine to produce blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill. Seek refuge immediately.

Frost/Freeze Warning
Below freezing temperatures are expected and may cause significant damage to plants, crops, or fruit trees.

   Effects of the Cold   

Frostbite
Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure, and can cause permanently damage. Symptoms include a loss of feeling, and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, or nose and ear lobes.

Hypothermia
Hypothermia is a condition that occurs when the body temperature drops below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion.

Treatment
If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance.

Warm the person's trunk first. Use your own body heat to help. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure.

Put the person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket.

Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine (like coffee or tea) or alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulant and can make the heart beat faster, hastening the effects of the cold on the body. Alcohol is a depressant and can slow the heart, also hastening the ill effects of cold body temperatures.

   Winter Safety Tips   

FOR THE ELDERLY

  • As we get older, we're more sensitive to the cold
  • Find a "buddy" to check on you daily, in person or by telephone
  • Stay active. Sitting in one place can make you colder
  • Ask a friend or relative to de-ice or shovel your walkways and porches to avoid a fall

WHEN INSIDE

  • Use proper precautions when using alternate heating, such as a fireplace, wood stove, or electric heater, including proper ventilation and keeping flammables far away
  • Eat. This helps your body produce its own heat.
  • Avoid alcohol, which can make your body lose heat
  • Close off unused rooms to conserve heat
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing. Remove layers to avoid perspiring 

WHEN OUTSIDE

  • Wear loose-fitting, light-weight, warm clothing in several layers
  • Wear a hat, particularly one that covers your ears
  • Wear mittens, these are better than gloves because they keep the fingers close together
  • Find shelter
  • Try to stay dry and cover all exposed parts of your body
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold
  • Do not eat snow. It lowers your body temperature-- let it melt first.

WHEN TRAVELING

  • Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid the storm.
  • Keep your gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines
  • If your vehicle becomes stranded in the snow stay with your vehicle unless you can see an occupied building nearby. You could become disoriented walking in a snowstorm.
  • It is better to periodically run the vehicle's engine and heater, but make sure you open your window a crack and make sure the exhaust pipe is free of snow. Ten minutes every hour is good.
  • Make yourself visible to other motorists. Tie a red or orange rag to the vehicle's radio antenna. Turn on the dome light when your engine is running. Raise your hood when the snow stops.
  • Keep moving. From time to time, vigorously move your arms and legs, fingers and toes, to keep blood circulating.

Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins. Carry a Winter Storm Survival Kit, which should include:

  • 1 blanket or sleeping bag for each person
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Knife
  • High-calorie, non-perishable food
  • Small can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking
  • Bag of sand or cat litter
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper and brush
  • Booster cables

 

 

 

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