The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Watch for portions of CNY as this cold snap hits dangerously low temperatures. 

A Wind Chill Watch is in effect for Oneida, Otsego and Delaware County from Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon.

Dangerously cold wind chills possible. Severely cold wind chills as low as 30 below zero will cause frostbite in as little as 10 minutes to exposed skin, especially Friday night into Saturday. Wind chills could range from 20 to 30 below zero Thursday night into Friday, and from 25 to 40 below zero Friday night into Saturday.

The National Weather Service says a blast of Arctic air will arrive Thursday night with northwest winds gusting as high as 25 to 35 mph as temperatures plummet. Winds will continue Friday into Saturday, only slowly diminishing with time. Also, the very cold air could cause freezing of vulnerable exposed plumbing, if preventive measures are not taken.

What Is Frostbite?

 Frostbite happens when the body's survival mechanisms kick in during frigid weather. To protect the vital inner organs, the body cuts circulation to your extremities: feet, hands, nose, etc., which eventually freeze. If you must go out, try to cover every part of your body: ears, nose, toes and fingers, etc. Mittens are better than gloves. Keep your skin dry. Stay out of the wind when possible. Drink plenty of fluids since hydration increases the blood's volume, which helps prevent frostbite. Avoid caffeine,  alcohol, and cigarette. Caffeine constricts blood vessels, preventing warming of your extremities. Alcohol reduces shivering, which helps keep you warm. Cigarettes shut off the blood flow to your hands. Below are indicators of frostbite:

First degree: Ice crystals are forming on your skin.
Second degree: Skin begins to feel warm even though it is not yet defrosted.
Third degree: Skin turns red, pale or white.
Fourth degree: Pain lasts for more than a few hours, and skin may develop dark blue or black. See a doctor immediately if these symptoms arise. Gangrene is a real threat.

Frostbite First Aid:

Get indoors as quickly as possible:

Until you can get indoors:

  • Don't rub or massage cold body parts.
  • Put your hands in your armpits.
  • Hold onto another person or animal.
  • Drink warm liquids.
  • Put on extra layers of clothes, blankets, etc.
  • Remove rings, watches and anything other tight jewelry or related items.

Once indoors:

  • Don't walk on a frostbitten foot. You could cause more damage.
  • Get in a warm, NOT hot, bath and wrap your face and ears in a moist, warm, NOT hot, towel.
  • Don't get near a hot stove or heater or use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or a hairdryer. You may burn yourself before feeling returns.
  • Frostbitten skin will become red and swollen and feel like it's on fire. You may develop blisters. Don't break the blisters. It could cause scarring and infection.
  • If your skin turns blue or gray, is very swollen, blistered or feels hard and numb even under the surface, go to a hospital as soon as possible.

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Winter Weather Preparation:

  • Keep your cell phone charged and make sure you know where your backup power supply is.
  • Make sure all your flashlights have fresh batteries.
  • Fill your gas tank. You can use your car to keep warm and recharge devices.
  • Have some food available that you don’t need to cook.
  • Download the App. You’ll receive local alerts, weather reports and more with push notifications.

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