It's day four of winter weather preparedness week in Missouri and Thursday's topic is extreme cold. Hypothermia and frostbite are possible every year in Mid-Missouri's winter season. Making sure to dress affectively and being able to recognize the early signs of each can prove life saving.
Hypothermia does not only occur in aggressively cold temperatures, if your interior body temperature reaches down to 95 degrees, you could develop early stages of hypothermia. If you or someone else becomes confused more easily, sleepy, have difficulty speaking, or stiff muscles you will want to seek warm shelter immediately and slowly warm your body in just above room temperature conditions.
The best advice to staying warm and steering clear of hypothermia comes from staying dry. Becoming wet leads to evaporation which causes a cooling process to occur. Within 15 minutes of being in water at or just below 32 degrees, you can lose consciousness or become at risk of exhaustion.
Death can occur in just over 15 minutes if you remain in this cool water.
Frostbite typically occurs in extremely low wind chills. The chart above details how quickly frostbite can occur with exposed skin. Within the last several years, we have seen wind chills in Mid-Missouri reach below -25 degrees.