Dangerous wind chills this week in Union County
As much of the state braced for brutally cold weather this week, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday, Jan. 29, issued a disaster proclamation to make a wide variety of state resources available to help communities affected by approaching winter storms and record low temperatures, Capitol News Illinois reported.
Below-zero temperatures were expected to move into Illinois Tuesday evening and last through Thursday, today.
The National Weather Service said wind chills could reach 55 below zero in Northern Illinois, 35 below in Central Illinois and 25 below in parts of Southern Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Public Health said frostbite could set in on exposed skin within 10 to 15 minutes in the expected cold.
“This storm poses a serious threat to the well-being of people around the state, and we will use every tool at our disposal to keep our residents safe,” Pritzker said.
“This disaster proclamation ensures that the State of Illinois has the flexibility to effectively and efficiently respond to the needs of local governments during this extreme weather event.”
Earlier this week, Pritzker activated the state emergency operations center in Springfield to support local government as they begin to plan for the extreme weather conditions.
Information on how to deal with the extreme cold, as well as a list of Illinois warming centers in each county, can be found on the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Illinois website at ready.illinois.gov.
Illinois Department of Human Services offices will serve as warming centers during regular business hours for anyone looking to find a safe, warm place during the cold.
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Information posted online showed that one of the warming centers is located in Anna at 1000 N. Main St., Willow Hall, Suite A and B.
Local Weather Outlook
High temperatures are forecast to be in the upper 20s by Thursday, today, in the Union County area.
The National Weather Service early this week was calling for a high of 29 degrees in Anna by today.
Early this week, bitter cold weather swept into Southern Illinois and the rest of the Midwest.
Temperatures dropped on Monday. On Tuesday evening, the weather service reported that a “true arctic front” would move through the region – “dropping wind chill temperatures into the 10 to 20 degrees below zero range” across portions of Southern Illinois, Southeast Missouri and northwest Kentucky.
The high temperature on Wednesday in Union County was forecast to be near 13 degrees – with wind chill values as low as 12 degrees below zero. Northwest winds were expected to gust as high as 25 miles per hour on Wednesday. The low Wednesday morning was forecast to be around 5.
Wind Chill Advisory
The weather service issued a wind chill advisory for the region which was in effect from midnight Tuesday until noon on Wednesday.
Dangerous, very cold wind chill temperatures were expected to develop across the region Tuesday night and continue until midday on Wednesday.
Readings from 10 degrees below zero to 20 degrees below zero were expected to “result in dangereous conditions outdoors” in the advisory area, the weather service warned.
After a high of 29 and mostly cloudy conditions Thursday, today, the weather service forecast on Tuesday was calling for a chance of snow before midnight. Freezing rain, possibly mixed with snow between midnight and 2 a.m., is likely. Freezing rain is likely after 2 a.m.
On Friday, the high is expected to be near 43. By this Saturday and Sunday, high temperatures are forecast to climb into the 50s. Rain is possible on both days.
Emergency Preparedness Plan
With the possibility of life-threatening and record-breaking cold temperatures expected this week in Illinois, Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday put in place an emergency preparedness plan to be carried out by the state emergency operations center, state agencies and local emergency management officials.
With such extreme temperatures and dangerous wind chills, the Illinois Department of Public Health, IDPH, warned that frostbite could set in on exposed skin within 10 to 15 minutes.
IDPH reminds people about the health dangers of extreme low temperatures and tips on how to stay warm.
Parts of the body most commonly affected by frostbite due to exposed skin include the face, ears, hands and feet.
Frostbitten skin is whitish and stiff, and the area will feel numb rather than painful.
To treat frostbite, warm the affected part of the body gradually. Wrap the frostbitten area in blankets, sweaters, coats, etc. and seek medical attention immediately.
Do not rub frostbitten areas because the friction can damage the tissue.
Hypothermia is caused by a drop in body temperature to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or less and can be fatal if not detected promptly and treated properly.
Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk of hypothermia.
Signs of hypothermia include: Shivering. Exhaustion. Confusion. Drowsiness. Slurred speech. Weak pulse. Slow heartbeat. Infants may experience bright red, cold skin.
Do not try to treat hypothermia at home, IDPH warned. The condition should be treated in a hospital.
Dressing for the Cold
If you need to be outside, the following suggestions will help keep you warm and protect your body from excessive heat loss.
Wear several layers of lightweight clothing rather than one or two layers of heavy garments. The air between the layers of clothing acts as insulation to keep you warmer.
Cover your head. You lose as much as 50 percent of your body heat through your head.
Wear mittens rather than fingered gloves.
Wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks or two pairs of lightweight socks.
Wear waterproof boots or sturdy shoes that give you maximum traction.
Cover your ears and the lower part of your face. The ears, nose, chin and forehead are most susceptible to frostbite. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect the lungs from directly inhaling extremely cold air.
Make sure you have enough needed medications, oxygen, diabetes testing equipment and other medical supplies needed for several days.
Talk with your health care provider about scheduling daily or frequent medical care such as dialysis, cancer therapy and other appointments.