Icicles. Photo by Ramona du Houx

01/10/2022 


AUGUSTA, MAINE -The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is urging residents and visitors to use caution during extreme cold temperatures. The National Weather Service in Gray forecasts temperatures below zero this evening and Tuesday night with wind chills between 15-30 below zero tomorrow morning. Wind chill warnings and wind chill advisories have been issued for late this evening through tomorrow morning. Snow squalls are also predicted across southwest Maine that may impact this evening’s commute.

“With extreme cold temperatures coming to Maine this week, I encourage Maine people to take every precaution to stay warm and to check on friends, family and neighbors to ensure they are safe,” said Governor Janet Mills. “For those who are concerned about their ability to stay warm, support is available by calling 2-1-1, with warming centers now opening in communities across the state. Please be safe and stay warm.”

MEMA recommends that Maine people are sure that alternate heat sources are in proper working condition, properly installed, and that the user follows the manufacturers guidelines. Keep heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire. Never use your oven to heat your home because it can be a fire hazard. For further tips or resources on heating during the winter months, “>https://www.maine.gov/energy/winter-heating-resources”> visit this Winter Heating Guide produced by the Governors Energy Office.

Warming Centers are also opening in several Maine counties. Please visit MEMAs website to find a location near you: “>https://www.maine.gov/mema/response-recovery/mass-care”>www.maine.gov/mema/response-recovery/mass-care . You may also dial 211 or visit their website for a list of locations. Please be aware that Warming Centers are following COVID-19 health and safety guidelines to protect those utilizing their facilities.

When exposed to extremely cold temperatures and high winds, the body loses heat faster than it can generate heat, which leads to health emergencies like hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia can affect anyone, but the most frequent victims include those who are –

– Elderly with inadequate clothing, food, or heat sources – Very young in cold bedrooms – Outside for too long such as the homeless, lost hikers, and hunters – People with substance use disorders – Chronically ill who cant regulate body temperature

Frostbite occurs when the skin is exposed to frigid temperatures, causing the tissues to freeze. It most often impacts the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes, and causes a loss of feeling and color. Its mild form, called frostnip, causes the skin to turn bright red and creates an ache.

When severe, the loss of color and numbness of frostbite can become permanent. In the worst cases, amputation is sometimes necessary. Although frostbite can impact anyone, those with bad circulation have the highest risk.

Its also important to not leave children or pets in cars and dont leave pets out overnight.

The State Emergency Operations Center remains in partial operation while responding to resource needs of the county emergency management agencies related to COVID-19 as well as any cold weather events.

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