A winter storm will take aim on the Northern Plains late tonight and Tuesday bringing accumulating snow, strong northerly winds, and another blast of arctic air to the region. As a result, a Blizzard Warning is in effect for parts of the region Tuesday as the snow, combined with the strong winds create near white out conditions across portions of the region. Storm total snowfall amounts from an inch to upwards of 4 inches can be expected, with the highest amounts falling along and north of state highway 14 (see graph below).
Here's what you need to know in order to prepare for this next round of wintry weather.
Timing and Impacts:
Tuesday Night: Arctic air will pour into the region as northwest winds decrease into the 15 to 25 mph range in most areas toward midnight. Wind chill values of 15 below zero to 25 below zero will be common throughout the region by early Wednesday morning.
Watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia when outdoors during extreme cold weather.
Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure that can permanently damage its victims. A loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, or nose and ear lobes are symptoms of frostbite. In fact, research (P.Tikuisis, 2004) has shown that uncovered fingers can freeze up to 8 times faster than a human cheek, and the nose can freeze 3 times faster. This illustrates the importance of keeping fingers and parts of your face (ear lobes, nose) well covered in extreme cold weather.
Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95 degrees (F). Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, as well as drowsiness, and exhaustion.
If frostbite or hypothermia is suspected, begin warming the person slowly and seek immediate medical assistance. Warm the person's trunk first. Use your own body heat to help. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure. Put the person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket.
Never give a frostbite or hypothermia victim something with caffeine in it (like coffee or tea) or alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body. Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.
For additional information on the upcoming Winter Storm invading the region, feel free to click on the links below: