MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Sheriff David Clarke issued a weather alert for motorists Friday, January 3rd. Vehicles are not always reliable in the severe cold weather expected over the next week. Temperatures are expected to fall to about -25 with wind chills at -30 to -40, creating potentially life-threatening conditions.
Have an emergency kit in your vehicle to help survive if your car becomes disabled. Include blankets, extra clothing (fleece hats, gloves, scarves), folding shovel, candles, waterproof matches, flashlight with batteries, hand warmer packets, water bottles, nutritious snack bars and nuts.
Prepare ahead of any travel by keeping your gas tank full and have the vehicle’s fluid levels checked.
Read additional safety guidelines from the following AAA and State of Wisconsin resources:
AAA recommends the following winter driving tips: http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/
Tips for long-distance winter trips:
Tips for driving in the snow:
The Departments of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Health Services (DHS) and ReadyWisconsin are teaming up to warn people about the upcoming bitter weather and precautions you and your family should take.
Forecast – The National Weather Service says cold air will begin pouring into Wisconsin Saturday night and into Sunday. The coldest stretch will be Sunday night through Tuesday. Meteorologists are predicting lows Sunday night of -10 to -25 with wind chills at -30 to -40. Monday, highs will reach only -5 to -15 with wind chills remaining in the -30 to -40 danger zone.
Health Risks – With these bitter temperatures, beware of hypothermia and frostbite.
Frostbite can occur on exposed skin in less than 10 minutes. Symptoms include a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, ear tips and tip of the nose. Limit your time outside. If you see these signs, seek medical care immediately!
Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness in adults and children. In infants, symptoms can include bright red or cold skin and very low energy. If you notice anyone exhibiting any of the symptoms of hypothermia, seek medical care immediately!
Carbon Monoxide Danger - Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Breathing carbon monoxide displaces the oxygen in the blood and can cause death within minutes at high levels. Symptoms of overexposure to carbon monoxide are often mistaken for the flu and include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath/chest pain, nausea/vomiting, and confusion. If you or someone you know experience any of these symptoms, or your carbon monoxide detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911.
Never run a gasoline or propane heater or a grill (gas or charcoal) inside your home or an unventilated garage. Any heating system that burns fuel will produce carbon monoxide. Never run a car in an enclosed space. If a vehicle is running, you must have a door open to the outside. Generators should be run a safe distance from the home. Never run a generator in the home or garage, or right next to windows or doors. Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
Pet Precautions - While our pets might seem to have built-in, warm winter coats, they too are sensitive to the elements. It is recommended to bring them indoors during this bitter weather. Dogs and cats can get frost bitten ears, nose and feet if left outside during bitter cold weather. Chemicals used to melt snow and ice can also irritate pets' paws - be sure to keep anti-freeze, salt and other poisons away from pets.
Cats sometimes crawl under cars and into the engine compartment, seeking shelter and warmth. Bang on the hood before starting the car on cold days to startle sleeping animals. And remember, just as cars heat to oven temperature in summer, they can be equally deadly in winter when they turn into freezers. Don’t leave your pet alone in a vehicle. It may freeze to death.
On the road - If you are traveling make sure you have a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. Items to include in the kit are candles and matches, a flashlight, pocket knife, snacks, a cell phone adapter, a blanket and extra clothing. Also check with 511WI for road conditions. (http://www.511wi.gov/Web/).