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NOUS41 KCAR 230959
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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT 
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CARIBOU ME 
600 AM EDT WED OCT 23 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICES THAT SERVE NEW ENGLAND HAVE 
DECLARED OCTOBER 21-25, 2013, WINTER WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK. THE 
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CARIBOU WILL FEATURE A DIFFERENT 
EDUCATIONAL TOPIC EACH DAY DURING THE AWARENESS WEEK. 

TODAY'S TOPIC: EXTREME COLD, WIND CHILL, HYPOTHERMIA, AND FROSTBITE

COLD AIR, STRONG WINDS, AND COLD WIND CHILL TEMPERATURES ARE COMMON 
IN MAINE DURING THE WINTER MONTHS. IF YOU ARE NOT PREPARED, THESE 
COLD CONDITIONS CAN LEAD TO HYPOTHERMIA, FROSTBITE, AND POSSIBLY 
DEATH. TO UNDERSTAND THE DANGERS AND WARNING SIGNS ASSOCIATED WITH 
THE COLD, LET'S EXAMINE HOW THE HUMAN BODY REGULATES TEMPERATURE. 

HYPOTHERMIA

THE HUMAN BODY LOSES HEAT DURING THE WINTER DUE TO THE CONDUCTION 
AND CONVECTION OF HEAT FROM THE SKIN TO NEARBY AIR, DUE TO 
EVAPORATION OF MOISTURE FROM THE SKIN'S SURFACE, AND DUE TO NORMAL 
RESPIRATION. TO COMPENSATE FOR THIS HEAT LOSS, THE BODY BURNS ENERGY 
TO PRODUCE HEAT TO KEEP THE BODY TEMPERATURE AT A RELATIVELY 
CONSTANT LEVEL. HOWEVER, IF A BODY LOSES HEAT FASTER THAN IT CAN 
PRODUCE HEAT, THE BODY TEMPERATURE WILL COOL TO BELOW-NORMAL LEVELS. 
THIS IS KNOWN AS HYPOTHERMIA.

HYPOTHERMIA WILL GRADUALLY WORSE UNLESS THE OVERALL RATE OF HEAT 
LOSS CAN BE STOPPED. THE WARNING SIGNS FOR HYPOTHERMIA MAY START 
WITH SHIVERING AND SHAKING AND MAY END IN DEATH. INITIALLY, AS THE 
BODY TEMPERATURE STARTS TO DROP, SHIVERING BEGINS. AT THE SAME TIME, 
THE BRAIN BEGINS TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF BLOOD THAT IS CIRCULATED TO 
THE EXTREMITIES OF THE BODY IN ORDER TO CONSERVE HEAT FOR THE VITAL 
ORGANS NEAR THE BODY'S CENTRAL CORE. IF THE CENTRAL CORE OF THE BODY 
CONTINUES TO COOL, UNCONTROLLABLE SHAKING, MEMORY LOSS, 
DISORIENTATION, INCOHERENCE, SLURRED SPEECH, DROWSINESS, AND 
APPARENT EXHAUSTION MAY DEVELOP. THESE ARE ALL SIGNS  OF A VERY 
SERIOUS SITUATION. IF THE BODY CORE TEMPERATURE DROPS BELOW 95 
DEGREES FAHRENHEIT, JUST FOUR DEGREES BELOW NORMAL, IMMEDIATE CARE 
IS NEEDED, AS THE PERSON WILL LIKELY BECOME IRRATIONAL. ONCE THE 
BODY CORE TEMPERATURE DROPS BELOW 90 DEGREES, THE PERSON LOOSES 
MUSCLE CONTROL AND OUTSIDE HELP IS THE PERSON'S ONLY HOPE FOR 
SURVIVAL. IF THAT HELP IS NOT AVAILABLE, HEART AND/OR RESPIRATORY 
FAILURE AND DEATH WILL EVENTUALLY FOLLOW AS THE CORE TEMPERATURE 
CONTINUES TO DROP. 

IF A PERSON IS SUFFERING FROM HYPOTHERMIA, IT IS CRITICALLY 
IMPORTANT THAT THE PERSON BE WARMED PROPERLY. IF WARMED IMPROPERLY, 
DEATH MAY RESULT. IN A HYPOTHERMIC PERSON, COLD BLOOD IS 
CONCENTRATED IN THE EXTREMITIES. IF THESE EXTREMITIES ARE WARMED TOO 
QUICKLY, THIS COLD BLOOD WILL BE RELEASED INTO THE BODY'S CENTRAL 
CORE, POSSIBLY LOWERING THE CENTRAL CORE TEMPERATURE TO A FATAL 
LEVEL. USE THE FOLLOWING STEPS TO RAISE THE CORE TEMPERATURE OF A 
HYPOTHERMIC PERSON.

*  GET THE PERSON INTO DRY CLOTHING IF THEIR CLOTHES ARE WET.

*  PUT ON ADDITIONAL CLOTHING TO WARM THE PERSON'S HEAD AND TRUNK,   
   SUCH AS A HAT AND VEST.

*  WRAP THE PERSON IN A WARM BLANKET AND BE SURE THEIR HEAD AND NECK 
   ARE COVERED. DO NOT COVER THEIR EXTREMITIES.  

*  GIVE THE PERSON WARM LIQUIDS TO DRINK, BUT NO ALCOHOL, DRUGS, OR  
   COFFEE.

*  SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION, IF NECESSARY.

REMEMBER, TEMPERATURES DO NOT HAVE TO BE BELOW FREEZING FOR 
HYPOTHERMIA TO DEVELOP. THE COMBINATION OF TEMPERATURE, WIND, AND 
EXPOSURE TO THE ELEMENTS CAN BE DEADLY. HYPOTHERMIA CAN DEVELOP IN 
ELDERLY PEOPLE IN A COOL ROOM WITH FEW, IF ANY, WARNING SIGNS.

FROSTBITE

FROSTBITE IS A CONDITION IN WHICH THE BODY TISSUE ACTUALLY FREEZES. 
FROSTBITE IS OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH HYPOTHERMIA. IN A HYPOTHERMIC 
PERSON, THE BRAIN GREATLY REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF BLOOD THAT IS 
CIRCULATED TO THE EXTREMITIES OF THE BODY AND THEY BEGIN TO COOL. 
THIS INCREASES THE CHANCES THAT THE TISSUE AT THE END OF THE 
EXTREMITY MAY ACTUALLY FREEZE. THE MOST SUSCEPTIBLE ARES FOR 
FROSTBITE INCLUDE THE FINGERS, TOES, NOSE, AND EAR LOBES.

WIND CHILL TEMPERATURE

COLD AIR AND HIGH WINDS CONTRIBUTE TO THE POSSIBILITY THAT A PERSON 
MAY DEVELOP HYPOTHERMIA OR FROSTBITE. TO HELP MEASURE THE COOLING 
EFFECTS OF THE WIND AND COLD AIR ON THE HUMAN BODY, A VALUE KNOWN AS 
THE WIND CHILL TEMPERATURE WAS DEVELOPED. WHILE INANIMATE OBJECTS 
ARE NOT AFFECTED BY WIND CHILL, WARM-BLOODED ANIMALS, INCLUDING 
HUMANS, ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE COOLING EFFECTS OF THE WIND.

TO ALERT PEOPLE TO THE DANGERS ASSOCIATED WITH THE COMBINATION OF 
WIND AND COLD TEMPERATURES, THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ISSUES WIND 
CHILL WARNINGS AND WIND CHILL ADVISORIES. THE FOLLOWING VALUES ARE 
USED FOR ALL OF NORTHERN AND EASTERN MAINE.

*  WIND CHILL WARNINGS - ISSUED FOR WIND CHILL TEMPERATURES OF -35F  
   OR COLDER

*  WIND CHILL ADVISORIES - ISSUED FOR WIND CHILL TEMPERATURES        
   BETWEEN -20F AND -34F

EXTREMELY COLD TEMPERATURES, EVEN WITHOUT THE WIND, ALSO INCREASE 
THE THREAT FOR FROSTBITE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE OVER AN 
EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. BE SURE TO DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR ANY 
OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES ON COLD DAYS.

PREPAREDNESS TIP FOR THE DAY:

DURING VERY COLD AND WINDY DAYS, WEAR LAYERED CLOTHING. EACH LAYER 
OF CLOTHING TRAPS A SMALL AMOUNT OF AIR THAT HELPS INSULATE THE BODY 
FROM THE OUTSIDE COLD AND WIND. THE TOP LAYERS WILL CUT DOWN ON THE 
PENETRATION OF THE WIND, ALLOWING THE LOWER LAYERS TO TRAP HEAT, 
THUS LOWERING THE AMOUNT OF HEAT THAT THE WIND CAN CARRY AWAY FROM 
THE BODY. 

TOMORROW'S TOPIC: EXTREME COLD, WIND CHILL, AND THEIR EFFECTS.

$$

  US Dept of Commerce
  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  National Weather Service
  1325 East West Highway
  Silver Spring, MD 20910
  Page Author: NWSChat Administration Team
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