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RACINE — The City of Racine Public Health Department is issuing a special cold weather public health advisory to prevent cold-related illness and death due to cold weather predicted by the National Weather Service in the coming days.

The National Weather Service forecast for Racine and the rest of southeastern Wisconsin shows extremely cold temperatures for much of this holiday week, beginning Dec. 20. Wind chills are expected to be between 0° and 10°F earlier in the week.

Air temperatures will be in the single digits later in the week, with wind chills well below zero through the holiday weekend. On top of that, potentially heavy snowfall is also in the forecast beginning Thursday.

If outdoor activity is essential in the cold weather, people should be extra careful and mindful of the risks posed by severely cold temperatures.

“With low temperatures and even moderate wind, common outdoor activities can quickly become life-threatening, even for those appropriately dressed for the outdoors,” said Dottie-Kay Bowersox, Public Health Administrator of the City of Racine Public Health Department. “Exposed flesh such as the nose and ears can freeze within 30 seconds at minus-30 degrees wind chill.”

Life-threatening hypothermia can develop rapidly, especially if a person is wet or damp. Shivering is the first sign of hypothermia. As hypothermia progresses, lack of coordination, slurred speech, confusion and drowsiness can occur. If shivering begins, the individual should immediately move indoors.

Racine County residents should make a plan for how to avoid exposure in dangerously cold weather.

Warming Centers

Racine County has warming centers available to the public.

Cold weather tips:

  • Avoid touching metal surfaces with uncovered hands as flesh will freeze immediately on the surface.
  • Layer clothing and use hats and ski masks to cover your nose and ears when going outdoors. Hard, pale, cold extremities coupled with numbness are signs of frostbite.
  • Avoid alcohol before going outside in the extreme cold because alcohol can trick the body into thinking it is warm when it is not.
  • Plan for the unexpected to happen; in your car, carry a survival kit including blankets, sleeping bags, extra clothing, and high-energy foods.
  • Be sure your car’s gas tank is at least half-full and your battery charged.

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