The snowfall might be over, temporarily, but this weekend is set to suffer from extremely low temperatures which, for what they lack in precipitation, more than make up for in danger. The frigid spell is set to wreak its wintry havoc this weekend, sending New York denizens indoors and some into weather-born panic.
The National Weather Service is declaring that the inbound air mass could be the coldest of the season, and warns residents of the eastern seaboard to brace for subzero temperatures. Actual temperatures are set to drop into the low single digits, with wind chills exacerbating the deep-freeze, combining for “real feels” of under twenty below. Furthermore, wind chill advisory will be in effect in New York City from midday Saturday to noon Sunday. How do wind chills reach such icy depths? With wind gusts of up to 45MPH, that’s how.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who at this point is well-versed in natural disaster preparation, has advised New Yorkers to take “extreme precautions” this weekend. Which means pedestrians should bundle up, leave as little skin exposed as possible, and limit trips outdoors to strict necessity.
So, we know this weekend’s going to be cold- but is it going to be the coldest ever?
New York City’s Coldest Winters
Not quite. The coldest day ever recorded in New York City was in mid-February- 82 years ago. On February 9, 1934, temperatures dropped to a bone-chilling negative 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Recently, we’ve gotten much closer to setting records for cold. Last February was the third-coldest February on record, with an average temperature of 24.1 degrees. That’s an average temperature just 3 degrees warmer than the record low, and the coldest overall month since that historically freezing February in 1934.
Cold, however, doesn’t always translate to snow- our snowiest winter wasn’t our coldest one. The winter of 1995-96 unleashed a staggering 76 inches of snow on New York City, but did not rank amongst the coldest recorded seasons.
Native New Yorkers know that the cold and snow are virtually unavoidable, an annual menace that must be met head-on. As thermometers drop, it’s important to countenance the inherent dangers of sub-arctic temperatures, and inform yourself of what to do to safeguard you and your family against the cold.
The Dangers of Freezing Weather
What should you watch out for when the weather gets this bad? Mainly, two things: hypothermia and frostbite. Both of these conditions are caused by exposure to extreme cold. What follows is brief rundowns about how to avoid hypothermia and frostbite, how to diagnose the symptoms, and what to do in the event you’ve been afflicted.
Every year, approximately 700 people succumb to the devastating effects of hypothermia. As the body loses core heat, victims of hypothermia will begin to shiver, and get progressively more mentally confused. Lethargy, exhaustion, and slurred speech are other symptoms. Those suffering from hypothermia also become increasingly more susceptible to catastrophic heart complications.
Children, who are unable to dress themselves nor fully able to articulate the extent of their coldness, are considered to be at high-risk for hypothermia. The elderly, especially those with pre-existing mental conditions, and thus are less aware of changes in their body, are also considered high-risk.
As frostbite sets in, the victim begins losing feeling in the affected area. If left untreated, the freezing and loss of sensation caused by insufficient circulation in these areas can cause permanent damage to body tissue, which could result in amputation. If you’ve been out in the cold and your hands, feet, fingers, toes, ears, nose or chin begin to tingle, ache, sting or go numb, you may be in danger of frostbite. Seek medical attention immediately.
Safety Tips: Both of these maladies can be prevented in similar fashion. When it gets this cold, make sure to wear multiple layers. This way, you’ll be prepared for the worst, but will be able to strip off layers in case you get too hot. Mouths, noses, and extremities, which are located farthest away from the heart, are the most prone to the cold. It’s vital that you cover these areas up. Avoid drinking alcohol while outdoors in the extreme cold. If your core temperature has plummeted to dangerously low levels, attempt to warm yourself up gradually in lieu of taking a scalding hot shower or bath, as that can cause shock.
Couple the dangers of hypothermia and frostbite with an increased likelihood of contracting colds and the flu, and it’s not hard to realize how hazardous cold weather situations can be.
Kaplan Lawyers PC
Deep freezes are a silent and invisible danger. Even in urban and suburban areas, subzero temperatures can prove treacherous. Those with access to the comforts of modernity, such as insulation, heat, and shelter, are advised to stay cautious and, if possible, stay indoors. Extreme cold can cause serious physical injury to those aren’t careful. Frostbite and hypothermia can strike quicker than you might realize, and can cause grievous bodily harm. If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence or malfeasance of another, it may be within your rights to sue. If you’re unsure as to the particularities of your legal situation, you can turn to the knowledgeable and compassionate lawyers at Kaplan Lawyers PC. Our expert team of attorneys will help inform you of your rights, and will know how best to proceed. So if you’ve been hurt, don’t hesitate. Contact us today for a free consultation.