Bitter cold can be deadly

In sub zero temp, expose skin can freeze in 30 min

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts missed the worst of Tuesday’s snow storm, but now we’re dealing with near-zero and sub-zero temperatures.

When the temperature drops to below zero and the wind makes it feel even colder, it doesn’t take long for exposed skin to freeze.

Wednesday’s high temperature was 17 degrees, and the overnight lows were 2 to 8 degrees below zero. The frigid temperatures and gusty winds have returned to western Massachusetts.

Janina Berrios of Springfield told 22News she wears several layers when it’s bitterly cold. “Gloves, you know, sweaters, scarves, coats. You just bear with it and you know, you get through it.”

Your nose, your fingers and your ears are the areas most vulnerable to frost bite, and in this kind of cold weather, frost bite can occur in just 30 minutes, and you suffer hypothermia when your body temperature decreases.

So to make sure no one’s left out in the bitter cold, the Friends of the Homeless emergency shelter has added extra beds, even if that means they may go over their budget.

Executive Director Bill Miller told 22News, “Our heating bill goes up, as the temperature goes down, just like any homeowners’ would. But we have the same amount of money to deal with it either way. And the number of meals go up. Our cost goes up. So there’s still work that has to be done.”

However, no matter what, the shelter is open 24/7 for people who don’t have a warm place to stay.

Warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering and slurred speech. Anyone with symptoms of hypothermia or frost bite should see a doctor immediately.