Michigan Entering the Deep Freeze, Here’s What You Need to Know

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Forecasters are predicting some of the coldest weather in 25 years will dip down over the mitten tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday. January of 1994 was the last time recorded temperatures in the Lower Peninsula did not exceed 0 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale.

Tonight in Grand Blanc, according to the National Weather Service, temps will drop to -8°. With the wind blowing a consistent 16-18 mph. Occasional gusts may reach 26 mph driving wind chill factors down to -26°.

Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019

Temperatures will struggle to reach zero in most of the lower. Winds will pick up with speeds between 17-23 mph. The wind chill potential reaches -31°. Evening temperatures will bottom out at 10 below zero.

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019

Temperatures will rise above the zero degrees mark, but top out at 4°. Thursday evening drops back down to -9°.

Cold Weather Danger

What do these temperatures mean to you?

Frostbite

In wind chills of -20°F, frostbite can occur in just 30 minutes. When the wind chill drops to -30°F range, the exposure time for the onset of skin damage drops to 10 minutes.

National Wind Service Wind Chill Index
Hypothermia
Photo Credit: WebMD

Most people associate hypothermia dangers with falling through the ice or clothing getting soaked in some manner. Often overlooked is hypothermia that occurs while clothed in multiple layers. Sweating, then sudden cooling can drop body temperatures to a dangerous level. Those layers of clothing will keep cold out, but also trap it against your skin if your body overheats and cools quickly.

If hypothermia occurs, don’t hesitate. Monitor the core body temperature, if it drops below 95°F, seek medical treatment immediately! Warm broth and bringing warmth to the extremities (arms and legs), head and neck areas, are the first courses of action. Alcohol, coffee, tea, and hot foods are not recommended to treat hypothermia.

Slip and Fall Injuries

When the temperature drops below 20° salt applied to ice takes considerably longer to work. As temperatures get to the zero degrees mark, treatment is generally ineffective. Walking on concrete, asphalt, or other paved surfaces can be very slippery even with salt applied. Take extra care even if salt is visible on the surface.

Playing in the snow and ice is fun. Falling in the snow and ice is not. Photo Credit: Cassie Shay / The Lasco Press
Your Car
Photo Credit: twitter.com/mikeleclair74

Don’t ignore your car when it comes to severe cold temperatures. If your car battery struggles to turn over on cold mornings, 4-6 hours of below zero temps will kill it. According to Tony Skerjance, Service Manager at Grand Blanc Mitsubishi: “A weak battery can leave you stranded in extremely cold weather. If it happens at home you can get back inside and wait out the cold. If it happens on the road it could be life-threatening.”

Grand Blanc Mitsubishi offers free battery checks to test the health of your car battery. Tony also reminds drivers to check the condition of their car’s antifreeze, wiper blades, windshield washer fluid, and especially the tires. “Before you head out to do any driving in Michigan’s extreme weather, be sure you can navigate the roads safely home.”

Think Ahead, Prepare Wisely

If you have to head out over the next few days think ahead. Are your clothes warm enough to protect you if you were caught outside for a short period? Do you have extra blankets in the car if you were to slide off the road and need to wait to be rescued? If your car capable of making the trip? Is your cell phone charged should you need it for an emergency?

The deep cold will subside in a few days. However, it’s winter in Michigan and even normal cold weather challenges can turn deadly. Just pause and consider the worst that could happen. Are you prepared to deal with the unexpected, should circumstances arise. It really could be a life or death situation. Practice the ounce of prevention theory and be safe.