WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – The calls for caution continue as officials urged Westchester County residents to take care during the arctic cold and bitter wind chills gripping the entire region.
“If you have elderly or ailing neighbors who live alone, please check on them this weekend,” Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino said in a statement. “During this bitter cold weather, everyone should be very cautious when traveling outdoors. Wear lots of layers while outside and do not leave skin exposed.”
The National Weather Service on Friday had issued a wind chill advisory for parts of the region that was to be in effect from 4 p.m. Saturday until noon on Sunday. The advisory warned that single digit temperatures would combine with sustained winds of 15-25 mph to make it feel as cold as -24 degrees.
“The frigid conditions will be extremely dangerous to those venturing outside. Prolonged exposure will cause frostbite,” the wind advisory warned. “The combination of very low wind chills and frigid air temperatures have the potential to result in frozen pipes ... frostbite and hypothermia.”
In his statement, Astorino provided guidance for anyone who may lose power or heat this weekend.
“Libraries, municipal buildings and malls are good places to warm up,” the statement said. “If you’re seeking shelter, contact the Department of Social Services Emergency Services unit at 914-995-2099.”
Dr. Sherlita Amier, the county’s health commissioner, urged those venturing out to dress warmly and in layers and to keep blankets in the car in case of a breakdown.
"If you do spend time outdoors this weekend, be mindful of the extreme cold and take frequent breaks to warm up inside,” Amier said. “Know and recognize the signs of frostbite and hypothermia."
According to the statement, hypothermia occurs when a body exposed to cold begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Warning signs in adults include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. In infants, look for bright red, cold skin and low energy. If any of these signs are present, take the person's temperature. If it is below 95 degrees, medical attention should be sought immediately.
According to the executive’s statement, elderly people and children sleeping in cold bedrooms are among those most susceptible to hypothermia. Those who take drugs or drink alcohol also are at risk.
Frostbite is an injury that causes a loss of feeling and color and most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes, according to the statement. It can cause permanent damage. The risk is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.
At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get the person out of the cold or protect any exposed skin—frostbite may be beginning. Seek immediate medical care. According to officials, signs of frostbite include white or grayish-yellow skin, numbness or skin that feels unusually firm or waxy. Victims are often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissue is numb.
Astorino is not the first official in New York to issue a warning about this weekend’s weather. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday distributed a similar message, warning those across the entire state to be on guard against the bitter cold.
For a full list of safety tips to kind in mind this weekend, visit Westchester County's website. View the latest warnings from the National Weather Service at AccuWeather.com or keep up to date with the forecast at the Daily Voice.
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