The National Weather Service and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency have proclaimed this week as Winter Weather Awareness Week in Alabama. Winter Weather Awareness Week highlights the need to be prepared for the potential dangers of a severe winter weather episode. As we all know, Central Alabama is no stranger to significant winter weather impacts, and the past two winter seasons are testaments to that.
Frostbite and hypothermia are the two more prevalent winter weather health hazards.
Frostbite occurs when skin is exposed to extreme cold for a prolonged amount of time. It could take as little as half an hour to 45 minutes for frostbite to set in, if wind chill temperatures fall below zero, which can happen in Alabama. Signs of frostbite are loss of feeling and a white/pale appearance to extremities. If you see these signs, get medical help immediately. If you have to wait for help, slowly warm the impacted areas.
Hypothermia occurs when your body’s temperatures falls below 95°. It can be deadly. Signs of hypothermia are uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and exhaustion. Seek help immediately or warm up the body from the inside with hot beverages or soup.
Keeping Yourself Prepared
Impactful winter weather doesn’t happen often, but when it does, being prepared ahead of time is the best option to keep you and your family safe. We’ve all seen the results of not being prepared for winter weather during the winter storm of 2014. Staying ready at home and while traveling can save your life. The National Weather Service in Birmingham has great resources to get your family prepared. Visit their Winter Weather Awareness Week page.
Some information provided by NWS-Birmingham