Bundle up! The coldest weather of the season is about to roll through central New York, with wind chills well below zero.

The National Weather Service says a very cold and blustery Arctic airmass will push into the area Thursday and Friday, likely bringing the coldest temperatures and wind chills of the season. If the cold temps aren't enough, scattered lake effect snow showers and snow squalls will also be possible, potentially impacting travel.

Thursday there's a small chance of snow before 4pm. Temperatures will be in the teens but wind chills will make it feel like -3. Thursday night it gets even colder, dropping down to 10 below zero with the wind chill.

Friday and Saturday temperatures will remain in the single digits with wind chills making it feel like -20. Sounds like a good weekend to stay indoors, in front of a nice warm fire. If you do have to go outside, dress in layers.

  • Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air between the layers acts as an insulator. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill.
  • Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded.
  • Always wear a hat or cap on your head since half of your body heat could be lost through an uncovered head.
  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
  • Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other.

Cold temperatures put an extra strain on your heart. Heavy exertion, like shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car can increase the risk of a heart attack. Here's a few things to keep in mind when working outdoors.

SLOW DOWN when working outdoors.

  • Take frequent breaks.
  • If you feel chest pain -- STOP and seek help immediately.

 

Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, especially in children and the elderly. Keep a close eye on these symptoms to avoid getting hypothermia.

 

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Exhaustion
  • Uncontrollable shivering, followed by a sudden lack of shivering

 

If a your body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, get emergency help immediately. Remove wet clothing, wrap the victim in warm blankets and give warm, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids until help arrives.

You can get frostbite and not even know it. There is no pain associated with the early stages, so watch for these danger signs:

 

  • Numb skin that may become flushed. Then it turns white or grayish-yellow.
  • Frostbitten skin feels cold to the touch.

 

If frostbite is suspected, move somewhere warm. Cover the frostbitten area with something warm and dry. Never rub it. Then get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible.

Don't forget about the pets. If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for them too.

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