One can visit Oxford Public Health & Emergency Services website and discover officially, that the entity extended its cold weather alert for the county through January 6 and 7 following an Environment Canada wind chill warning for the area.
One could check out The Weather Network website, which as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, indicated a temperature of minus 22 Celsius for Tillsonburg, feeling like minus 34 with the wind chill factored in.
One might be aware the Thames Valley District School Board and London District Catholic School Board have cancelled classes for the day, due to extreme cold.
Or one could simply stick their head out any available door or window, take a breath, and discover quite convincingly, to paraphrase the song and music-writing talents of Frank Loesser, that ‘baby it’s cold outside.’
A cold weather alert is issued when current or anticipated weather conditions are at or below -15 degrees Celsius or -20 with wind chill, criteria which certainly have been met and exceeded.
Officially speaking, Public Health & Community Services reminds residents to use extreme caution when venturing outdoors in conditions like those being experienced in Oxford and take precautions against cold weather in which its website indicates exposed skin may freeze in less than five minutes.
Those at risk from the Arctic-like conditions include older adults, infants and young children, outdoor workers, those who like outdoor sports such as skiing and hiking, and homeless persons and others who do not have shelter, proper clothing or food.
Over-exposure to cold may lead to complications such as frostbite, particularly in the extremities (finger and toes) or any exposed skin, and hypothermia, which occurs when body temperature drops below 35˚C, affecting the ability to think clearly and move well. Those suspecting hypothermia are urged to call 911.
For more information on Public Health’s extreme weather alerts visit www.oxfordcounty.ca/health. For more information on emergency shelters, call 211 or visit www.211ontario.ca.
Unusually cold conditions caused by a ‘swirling vortex of Arctic negativity’ are forecast to moderate by Friday, with the area expected to experience temperatures above zero on the weekend.
Warning signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Infants may have red, cold skin and very low energy. Hypothermia is a medical emergency - get medical attention immediately. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): Hypothermia
Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Signs of frostbite include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness. If you think you have frostbite, seek medical care. CDC: Frostbite