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:
- Loss of coordination
- Confusion and disorientation
- 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
Wondering what to expect to start the work week? We've got you covered You can always check your forecast on air o… https://t.co/RsWMyTiCaB37 minutes ago by WeatherNation
Folks in Seaside Heights, NJ took the polar plunge! If you have a great event (that depends on the weather), share… https://t.co/dOhMH53G6F3 hours ago by WeatherNation
When the sun says goodbye for winter in Antarctica, so do all flights. Feb 15 was the pole's last of the season:… https://t.co/Aa7mcavKqE6 hours ago by WeatherNation
Happy Sunday! A look at today's high temperatures: https://t.co/SWMLXQkjBm8 hours ago by WeatherNation
Possible Tornado Saturday afternoon in Dupont, Pennsylvania, still waiting on confirmation from the NWS. No injurie… https://t.co/hHjBFvOjxn10 hours ago by WeatherNation
From crumbling roads to failing infrastructure, extreme rain and snow has taken an expensive toll on California. https://t.co/zkNTNkMiqu14 hours ago by WeatherNation
Here's a look at wind gusts from the squall line that raced across the northeast. Many trees down as a result of 60… https://t.co/OatOmhLWUq15 hours ago by WeatherNation
Damage can be spotted in several places across the northeast after strong thunderstorms moved through the region Sa… https://t.co/IrfAxlbGoG16 hours ago by WeatherNation