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Below zero temps, gusting wind coming; city opens warming centers

Karen Sorensen | 1/6/2015, 9:16 a.m.
The National Weather Service's most recent forecast is calling for a low of 7-below Tuesday night, 1-below Wednesday and 11-below ...

The gorgeous sun that's followed an overnight snowstorm is a thin disguise for what's really happening outside: Single-digit temperatures to be followed by blowing wind Tuesday night into Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

The current temperature of 5 is expected to climb to a high of 12 Tuesday before falling to 7-below overnight, according to the most recent forecast. With wind gusts of up to 30 mph, that will feel closer to 30-below. Wednesday's high is predicted to be 1-below and the overnight low will be 11-below.

The city of Joliet has opened its warming centers, which are located at:

  • Joliet Shopping Mall, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday;
  • Daybreak, 611 E. Cass St., overnight warm shelter will be open;
  • MorningStar Mission, 350 E. Washington St., overnight warm shelter will be open.

The city also provided this information for what to do during winter storms and extreme cold:

Please remember to check on the elderly, those with medical conditions, and those with special needs during periods of extreme cold weather.

When at home:

• Stay indoors in a heated room as much as possible.

• Hang blankets over windows at night, but let the sun shine in during the day. Cover cracks around doors with rugs, newspapers, towels or other such material.

• When using alternative heat from a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc., use safeguards and ensure proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

• If your water pipes freeze:

  • Shut off water at the main source. This can minimize the damage to your home.
  • Call a plumber and contact your insurance agent.
  • Never try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame or torch.
  • Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water.

Outside:

• Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car or walking in deep snow. The strain

from the cold and the hard labor of snow shoveling could cause a heart attack at any age - a major

cause of death in the winter. Don’t ignore chest pain or tightness in your chest.

• If you become stranded outdoors:

  • Seek shelter to stay dry.
  • Cover all exposed parts of the body.
  • Do not eat snow as it will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.

• Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure of the skin that can permanently damage fingers, toes, the nose and ear lobes. Symptoms are numbness and a white or pale appearance to the skin. When symptoms are apparent, seek medical help immediately. If medical help is not immediately available, slowly warm the affected areas.

Hypothermia, or low body temperature, is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95 degrees F, which can be life-threatening.

Symptoms include:

• Slow or slurred speech

• Incoherence

• Memory loss

• Disorientation

• Uncontrollable shivering

• Drowsiness

• Repeated stumbling

• Apparent exhaustion.

If these symptoms are detected, take the person's temperature. If below 95 degrees F, immediately seek medical attention. If medical help is not available, begin warming the person slowly. Always warm the body core first. Do NOT warm the arms and legs first – this can force the cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure. Get the person into dry clothing and wrap them in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Do not give the victim alcohol, drugs, coffee or any hot beverage. Warm broth is better.