Cold Weather Tragedy In Duluth, MN & Hypothermia Related To Extreme Cold Dec 11, 2013

We’ve seen some tremendously cold temperatures lately in sections of the northern United States.  Crane Lake in International Falls, MN, reached to -33° for a morning low yesterday, and was the coldest temperature in the nation.  Park Rapids, MN, was -29° this morning, also the coldest in the nation.

This after a recent cold snap also in northern Minnesota that has led to a tragic situation involving a young lady & college student.  Essentially on her way home from a night out with friends, she ended up at the wrong house and passed out.

The temperature that night reached down to -18° and she ended up spending the night outside, now suffering from horrendous side effects related to frostbite.

You can find more information from our affiliate KARE in Minneapolis by clicking here.

That is a horrible situation, and our thoughts go out to that young lady and we wish her the best possible scenario for her recovery.

The cold continues, however, and this morning’s extreme cold combined with that recent story got me thinking.

I was walking around for a few minutes with wind chills near -28° (estimated), while wearing a face mask, a thick ear-flap hat, a thick pea coat, winter boots, etc.  The only exposed spots?  A few square inches on my face.  Within minutes those few square inches were stinging from the cold.  Gradually, the cold penetrated my typically stout jacket.

So this begs the question – how much cold can the body withstand?

We’ve all seen the wind chill charts (I assume), but we’ll post the National Weather Service’s chart right here:

 

 

Looking at that chart, I’m thankful to have only been outside for a few minutes.  -28° wind chill values can get you frostbite within 30 minutes.

What about hypothermia, though?  What temperature does your body have to get to for that to take place?  What are the symptoms?

Let’s start with symptoms, these are from the CDC:

Early Symptoms
  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion and disorientation
Late Symptoms
  • No shivering
  • Blue skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Slowed pulse and breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

So what about temperatures?

According to MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia here is how hypothermia is defined: Hypothermia is dangerously low body temperature, below 95 °F

Here are some key “Do Nots” according to the same article:

  • Do NOT assume that someone found lying motionless in the cold is already dead.
  • Do NOT use direct heat (such as hot water, a heating pad, or a heat lamp) to warm the person.
  • Do NOT give the person alcohol!

Things to keep in mind as we wait for warmer weather to move into large stretches of the nation.

 

WeatherNation Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer @ashafferWNTV

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tweets

**TOO EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS?** Help us settle a universal question...Christmas lights/decorations now: TOO EAR… https://t.co/RHtvqi1h0P

27 minutes ago by WeatherNation

A look back at the weather events in October and stats for the month: https://t.co/9NUBWvVrTd https://t.co/tfTC9kKdve

1 hour ago by WeatherNation

Skiers/Riders! Here's a preliminary look at how much snow some of California/Nevada's ski areas received from the r… https://t.co/4N3SnK9FnV

2 hours ago by WeatherNation

🦖🚤 T-REX ON A JET SKI: This T-Rex is having quite the time in #TurksandCaicos today! 😂😂 https://t.co/4bWh4z1xLZ

2 hours ago by WeatherNation

VOTE: Tell us your favorite video of the week! Check it out on our Facebook page: https://t.co/zWbo3cZcjT https://t.co/yUwG55eBt8

3 hours ago by WeatherNation

❄️❄️Snowy view this morning at @UUtah. #Snow chances will continue throughout the day. #utwx https://t.co/hyhn2YCA8d

4 hours ago by WeatherNation

Can you see the atmosphere? You can with satellites: https://t.co/7gmw7fOYJZ https://t.co/eFMVfY3REx

6 hours ago by WeatherNation

What's your secret? ❄️☃️How do you stay warm during the frigid winter months? ☃️❄️ Write your tips and tricks belo… https://t.co/Lfw1XZrZgH

7 hours ago by WeatherNation

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING - Have you checked out this video yet? -> https://t.co/nis3WltZEf See if you can spot what’s… https://t.co/YhrxsyQXMK

8 hours ago by WeatherNation

A look at #VIPIR across the Upper Midwest #WeatherNation https://t.co/m0cBiYdK0C

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

A look at #VIPIR Radar across the nation #WeatherNation https://t.co/YCwkHOAfFA

10 hours ago by WeatherNation

Make a wish!🙂 A new time - lapse captured by European Space Agency from the International Space Station briefly sho… https://t.co/Ow8rUmemho

11 hours ago by WeatherNation

Let's start off the day with a breath of fresh mountain air. 🌬️🏔️**DEEP BREATH** Ahhhhhh.... May your Friday be as… https://t.co/2ZwCBbUG7A

11 hours ago by WeatherNation
Follow Us