(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
Most of NE Washington will be hit with very cold wind chills on Friday morning from 1 a.m. to 11 a.m., the National Weather Service is announcing. The service issued a wind chill advisory after their forecasts show than temperatures could drop to as low as 10 to 15 below zero because of winds.
“The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes as well as hypothermia,” the weather service warned.
They are recommending that people use caution while traveling outside and wear appropriate clothing to combat the cold. People are urged to stay dry as wet clothing results in much faster heat loss. Waterproof insulated boots can also help. Mittens, gloves, and a hat is also important. This is important because the combination of wind and low temperature in winter can be deadly.
One concern for people should be frostbite. Frostbite is the freezing of skin and the body tissue just beneath it. It first affects exposed body tissue where blood circulation may be limited such as your fingers, toes, nose and ears. To minimize frostbite, make sure all body parts are well covered.
When frostbite starts, feeling is lost in the affected area and the frozen tissue will take on a white or pale appearance. If you suspect you are experiencing frostbite, hold the frostbitten area closely against warm skin to return blood flow and warmth to the affected area.
Another issue is hypothermia. Hypothermia is a dangerously low body temperature and is the most common winter weather killer. When you hear of a hiker, climber, hunter, or a stranded traveler perishing from cold weather exposure, hypothermia was the cause. Most people are surprised to learn that hypothermia deaths can occur with temperatures between 30 and 50 degrees. If you or tour clothing are wet, then hypothermia becomes even more likely.
Warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech, and drowsiness. Immediate medical attention should be given to victims suspected of suffering from hypothermia. If no help is available, the victim should be warmed slowly with warm liquids along with dry clothing and blankets.