Weekend forecast calls for dangerous cold temperatures

Published 2:16 pm Monday, December 19, 2022

BROOKHAVEN — It will be dangerously cold this weekend according to the National Weather Service in Jackson with lows less than 15 degrees and highs less than 32 degrees in the central and Southwest portion of the state. Depending on where you are this weekend, the wind chill could make it feel -10 degrees to -1 degree or if you are in portions of Southwest Mississippi it would feel about 0 to 9 degrees. 

NWS Jackson said there is no risk of ice build up from rain on roadways but it is too early to predict on Monday. They do expect light rain, maybe some sleet and flurries Thursday night with the other days forecast to be sunny. 

Wind gusts could be as high as 30 mph which poses a risk for any outside activity. Large trucks are at risk of being blown over and watercraft could face treacherous water conditions. Wind could make waters choppy. 

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Damage to pipes is likely and major water lines could rupture this weekend. One way a homeowner can protect pipes is by insulating exposed pipes and covering outdoor water faucets. You can leave your inside faucets on drip to prevent water from freezing in the pipes and expanding as they freeze. 

NWS recommends pet owners have plenty of food and water for their animals and to bring them inside. If you raise livestock you also need to have food and water for them. 

Drivers should make sure their vehicle has at least a half a gallon of gas so they can use their vehicle to stay warm if they become stranded. People who must travel should carry jumper cables, reflectors and a high vis vest in case they have car trouble. 

People should stock up on non-perishable food such as dry cereal, protein bars and nuts. Water needs are 1 gallon of water per person for 3 days. 

If a person makes the decision to go outdoors in the extreme cold they need to be properly dressed to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. Dress in layers and cover skin so nothing is exposed. Seek shelter from the wind as much as you can if you are outside and change into dry clothing as soon as you can if you get wet. 

Frostbite can happen in a matter of minutes on the extremities. Hands, feet, nose and ears are all at risk of frostbite. Here are signs of frostbite. 

  • First degree: Ice crystals are forming on your skin.
  • Second degree: Skin begins to feel warm even though it is not yet defrosted.
  • Third degree: Skin turns red, pale or white.
  • Fourth degree: Pain lasts for more than a few hours and skin may develop dark blue or black. See a doctor immediately if these symptoms arise. Gangrene is a real threat.

NWS warns if you suspect you have frostbite to move immediately to a heated area and begin warming areas with water or body heat. Do not use hot water or radiant heat from a fireplace or space heater as frostbite areas can become burned. Seek medical attention if you have a case of severe frostbite. 

Stay hydrated in extreme cold weather as increased blood flow can help keep the body warm. Avoid consuming caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes as they block vital human functions to stay warm. Caffeine constricts blood flow, alcohol limits shaking which is a bodily function to stay warm and nicotine shuts off blood flow to your hands. 

Hypothermia is also a risk and occurs when the internal body temperature falls below 96 degrees. A victim needs to be moved to a heated location and you must warm the center of their body first. 

One way to prevent hypothermia is to dress in layers, wear a warm hat and eat or drink warm food and beverages throughout the day. If you happen to get wet outside, remove wet clothing and change into dry clothes as soon as you can.