Winter has arrived with below-zero temperatures across the country and breaking records.
Bitter cold weather has caused parts of Niagara Falls to freeze. Visitors at Horseshoe Falls witnessed water freezing in mid-air as the water drops over the falls. Temperatures are expected to drop even further throughout the New Year’s weekend.
At the top of Mount Washington, the highest peak the Northeast, temperatures have fallen to -34 degrees with a wind chill of -89 degrees. These are record-breaking lows. The previous record was in 1933, temperatures dropped to 31 below zero.
Parts of the Midwest and the East Coast have experiences icy car accidents, car thefts, and frozen pipes with the winter wonderland, below-zero temperatures.
On Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, International Falls is predicted to have a wind chill of -30 degrees, Bismarck, North Dakota is expected to have -22-degree temperatures and Billings, Montana -15 degrees. It was 16 below zero outside Bangor, Maine.
Central Michigan’s icy roads caused over 30 accidents on the highways near Flint. A 40-car pileup in the southwestern part of Michigan left three injured. Even South Carolina experienced freezing rain on Friday. Bridges were shut down from Charleston to Myrtle Beach for de-icing.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, police stated that cars being left running to warm up are being stolen. The police tweeted, “Leaving your car running means the only person who will be warm is the thief who stole your car.”
According to weather authorities there is an Arctic wind chill that has taken hold of the United States west of the Rocky Mountains. In four days, a blizzard dumped 65 inches of snow on Erie, Pennsylvania.
One holiday traveler reported spending five hours on Christmas Day and 2 hours on Tuesday shoveling out her car and the driveway, so she could return to Washington, D.C.
The winter storm in Pennsylvania was caused by the Arctic air moving over the lake, which had mild water temperatures. There is another surge of Arctic air coming down from Canada causing frigid conditions.
The extreme winter weather is responsible for several deaths. On Saturday, an 83-year-old woman crashed her car and got out to look for help. Her body was found in a ditch on Sunday. She died from exposure to the wintery temperatures, in South Dakota. Three others were found dead from the elements along Lake Erie after their car slid off the road.
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in International Falls, Minnesota broke records. The Icebox of the Nation dropped to 37 degrees below zero. The previous record, set in 1924 was -32 degrees.
Most of New England, New York, and Northern Pennsylvania are under Wind chill advisories. These places are projected to have high temperatures in the teens or single digits and lows below zero.
Forecasters warn that frostbite can set in as quickly as 30 seconds in these temperatures. Even sharks are freezing to death. Two thresher sharks washed up along the Bay in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Experts say that the sharks were “stranded [in the Bay] due to cold shock.”
In 2015, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has been winterizing the “T.” However, authorities reported several delays because a piece of the track had broken and disabled the train.
Minnesota has experienced over 1100 crashes and 330 spin outs since the extreme cold struck this week.
Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. The drop in body temperature prevents the body’s organs from functioning properly. The symptoms of hypothermia are shivering, slurred speech, mumbling, slow and shallow breathing, a weak pulse, lack of coordination, drowsiness, confusion or memory loss, and loss of consciousness.
Frostbite occurs when part of the body is not properly covered in freezing temperatures. First, the skin will get red and sore, this is an early warning sign called frostnip.
In the early stages of frostbite the skin will turn a pale yellow or white. It could also itch, sting, burn or feel like pins and needles. In the intermediate stage, skin will become hard and appear waxy or shiny. As the skin thaws from this stage, blisters will form filled with fluid or blood. In the advanced stages of frostbite, the skin will become hard and cold to the touch. Skin will darken quickly and eventually turn black.
By Jeanette Smith
Daily Mail: Don’t go chasing waterfalls! Niagara falls FREEZES as wind chill drops as low as -89 DEGREES and 220MILLION prepare for a VERY chilly New Year’s Eve
Mayo Clinic: Hypothermia Overview
WebMD: Frostbite: How to Spot It, Treat It and Prevent It
Image Courtesy of Vincent Brassinne’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License