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Dangerous cold grips Mid-Missouri for the new year

Like water bursting forth from a dam, frigid Arctic air has been building into Mid-Missouri. For the first time in four years, Columbia’s overnight low fell below negative five degrees. Many spots are seeing wind chill values hug -30 degrees to start of the New Year. It’s this frigid air that is gripping a large portion of the nation, that is bringing dangerous cold as millions ring in the new year.

As an Arctic high continues to build into the midsection of the nation, it’s not only bringing dangerous temperatures to the region, but very dry air. For the 9th consecutive day, Columbia will see temperatures below freezing. It’s a trend that’s been ongoing sine 3:54 on December 23, 2017, when temperatures were last above 32 degrees.

With the continuation of the dangerous cold it’s especially important to dress appropriately when outside. Not only to stay warm, but to lower risk of hypothermia or frostbite. When outside in frigid temperatures, it’s always important to remember to wear an insulated layer, followed by two to three layers of clothes. This will keep the necessary heat trapped closer to the body, along with preventing cold weather dangers. It’s always advised to protect all extremities, as to prevent frostbite, which can easily set in within 20 to 30 minutes when wind chills are below -15 degrees.

As cold, Arctic air continues to build into the region it’s always important to watch out for the symptoms of both hypothermia and frostbite. Recognizing these symptoms early will ultimately help prevent long term damage to your body.

Hypothermia symptoms:

Shivering –> Confusion –> Slurred Speech –> Stiff Muscles –> Drowsiness –> Weak Pulse

Any extremities that are not covered up will quickly begin to freeze in a matter of minutes. Symptoms of frostbite include a pale yellow or white skin, followed by a pins and needles feeling. Eventually the skin becomes hard and gets a waxy look to it. If you notice frostbite beginning to set in get to a warm place immediately. Do not rub your hands, but soak them in warm water for 30 minutes. During this time the skin will begin to heal and may turn red and feel tingly.

Temperatures improve through the week, but it will still be frigid. Afternoon highs will be nearly 15-20 degrees below average as the Arctic air remains in place. The good news for Mid-Missouri is New Year’s Day will be the coldest of the next seven with the 40s returning by the start of next week.

Stay with ABC 17 Stormtrack Weather as we continue to monitor the dangerous cold and follow us on Twitter @ABC17Stormtrack.

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