With bitterly cold weather expected to sweep over the region tonight, causing temperatures to drop to a low of -17C and a windchill value of -26, the Middlesex-London Health Unit is issuing a Cold Weather Alert that will remain in effect until Sunday morning.
While the forecast calls for a low of -17C overnight, temperatures are expected to reach a daytime high of -12C Saturday, slightly above the Health Unit’s threshold for issuing a Cold Weather Alert, before falling back to a low of -17C overnight into Sunday morning. Windchill values will drop to -27 tomorrow morning, before reaching -18 later in the day.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit issues Cold Weather Alerts when forecast temperatures are expected to drop to -15C or lower, or when Environment Canada advises that windchill values are expected to be -20 or lower. This Alert is expected to remain in place until the morning of Sunday, January 16th, when temperatures are expected to reach a daytime high of -5C.
The Health Unit is reminding those planning to spend time outdoors to take precautions and dress for the weather in order to avoid cold-related injuries.
“The potential damage that winter weather can do to the body shouldn’t be underestimated,” says David Pavletic, Environmental Health Manager with the Middlesex-London Health Unit. “It is going to be very important over the next day or so to dress accordingly and cover any exposed skin to prevent cold-related injuries such as frostbite or hypothermia.”
Cold conditions and strong winds can damage exposed skin and lead to frostbite. Symptoms of frostbite include skin turning red, blue or in later stages, grayish-white. Individuals may experience pain, numbness and stiffness, especially in the fingers, toes, ears and nose, which are most susceptible to the cold. If you suspect frostbite, warm the affected area by placing it next to warmer skin or immerse in warm, but not hot, water. Do not rub the affected area, and seek emergency medical treatment for cases of severe, blistering frostbite. The re-warming process may take up to 60 minutes.
Hypothermia can happen when a person’s internal body temperature drops below normal. Symptoms include pale skin, drowsiness, confusion and hallucinations. While individuals may shiver in the early stages of hypothermia, shivering may decrease as body temperature drops. In severe cases, individuals lose consciousness, their breathing becomes shallow and their pulse becomes irregular and hard to detect. Anyone with these symptoms requires emergency medical treatment in order to prevent coma or death.
For a list of warming centres in the City of London, please visit: https://london.ca/warming-centres
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit
519-663-5317 extension 2469 or 519-617-0570