Ozark Winters

 

"The Deceptive Killer"

 


Ozark Winters

 

Winter weather can change drastically across the Ozarks. Mild temperatures and thunderstorms can be replaced with bitter cold and snow within hours. Winter weather phenomena ranging from crippling ice storms to heavy snowfall affect the Ozarks annually. To make matters worse, the rugged terrain makes winter weather conditions even more treacherous.

 

The Ozarks are susceptible to ice and snow storms. The heavy accumulation of ice can down telephone poles and lines, trees, electrical wires, and communication towers. Power and communications may be disrupted for days.

 

Heavy snow can immobilize the region and paralyze communities, stranding commuters, preventing the flow of supplies, and disrupting emergency and medical services. Heavy snow accumulations can also collapse buildings. In rural areas, homes and farms may be isolated for days, and unprotected livestock may be lost. The cost of snow removal, repairing damages, and loss of business can have a large economic impact on cities and towns.

 

Extreme Cold

 

Extreme cold is one of the leading weather related causes of death in Missouri. Since 1990, 117 lives have been lost due to extreme cold.  In addition, freezing temperatures can cause damage to crops and property.  

 

One of the gravest dangers of winter weather is wind chill. The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin by combined effects of wind and cold. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate, driving down the body temperature. Animals are also effected by wind chill.

 

The wind chill shows how cold the wind makes exposed flesh feel and is a good way to determine the threat of frostbite or hypothermia.

 

The combined effects of wind and temperature can be measured using the following Wind Chill chart.

 

Wind Air Temperature (F)

(mph)

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0

-5

-10

-15

5

31

25

19

13

7

1

-5

-11

-16

-22

-28

10

27

21

15

9

3

-4

-10

-16

-22

-28

-35

15

25

19

13

6

0

-7

-13

-19

-26

-32

-39

20

24

17

11

4

-2

-9

-15

-22

-29

-35

-42

25

23

16

9

3

-4

-11

-17

-24

-31

-37

-44

30

22

14

8

1

-5

-12

-19

-26

-33

-39

-46

35

21

14

7

0

-7

-14

-21

-27

-34

-41

-48

40

20

13

6

-1

-8

-15

-22

-29

-36

-43

-50

45

19

12

5

-2

-9

-16

-23

-30

-37

-44

-51


Safety Tips

 

W inter storms are considered deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. People die in traffic accidents on icy roads and from hypothermia due to prolonged exposure to cold.

Deaths related to ice and snow:

  • ~ 70% occur in automobiles

  • ~ 25% are people caught out in the storm

  • ~ Majority are males > 40 years old

Deaths related to exposure to cold:

  • ~ 50% are people over 60 years old

  • ~ 75% are males

  • ~ 20% occur in the home

Cold Weather Disorders Which Require Immediate Medical Attention

Frostbite occurs when skin becomes cold enough to actually freeze. A loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in the extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the nose are symptoms of frostbite.

Hypothermia can occur during longer periods of exposure when the body temperature drops below 95F. A person will become disoriented, confused and shiver uncontrollably, eventually leading to drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. In severe cases, death is possible.


To avoid the dangers of winter storms:

  • Avoid over exertion

  • Wear layers of loose fitting warm clothing

  • Have a winter storm survival kit in your home and vehicles, and be sure to receive the latest weather information from the NWS.

National Weather Service Products

 

To advise you of hazardous winter weather, your National Weather Service will issue a . . .

 

Winter Storm Warning for a combination of heavy accumulations of ice and snow.

  • snow > 6"

  • ice > 1/2"

Heavy Snow Warning for snow accumulations of 12" or greater.

 

 

Ice Storm Warning for ice accumulations of greater than 1".

 

Winter Weather Advisory for a combination of ice and snow.

 

Wind Chill Warning for wind chills of minus 25 or less.


Wind Chill Advisory for wind chills of minus 10 to minus 24.


Hazardous Weather Outlook daily at 6 AM & 1 PM to highlight the potential of hazardous weather including winter storms, severe storms and flooding.

 

 

See the graphical hazardous weather outlook at

http://www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf/?n=hwo

 

In addition to using NOAA Weather Radio as your weather information source, check out the following web sites:

 

NWS in Springfield - www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf

 

NWS Winter Info. - www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter

 


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