With wind chill temperatures expected to drop below 32 degrees, a cold-weather alert has been issued for Wednesday into Thursday in parts of Los Angeles County, including mountain areas in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to the county’s Public Health Department.
Tom Fisher, meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said gusts from the Rockies helped explain the sudden wind chill.
“A cold blow from the Canadian Rockies are blowing southward to the Great Basin,” Fisher said.
There are precautions residents can take to protect themselves from the cold. By dressing in warm layers, protecting the head, hands and feet, checking in on family and friends and staying inside a warm shelter will help prevent the negative effects experienced during peak cold hours.
Peak cold hours are right before sunrise around 5-7 a.m., according to Fisher.
Prolonged exposure to the cold could lead to hypothermia, according to the county public health news release. Early symptoms of hypothermia include: shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination and disorientation. Later symptoms include: blue skin, dilated pupils and slowed pulse and breathing.
In extremely cold weather conditions, residents are at risk of frostbite. Frostbite is most common to affect nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes, the news release says. If someone seems to be experiencing hypothermia or frostbite, be sure to gently warm them and seek immediate medical care.
“Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather,” said Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County health officer. “Extra precautions should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside.”
When heating a home, it is important to also prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Installing a carbon monoxide detector and using only approved heaters, such as electric or natural gas heaters and fireplaces, helps reduce the risk of poisoning, the news release stated.
“Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause shortness of breath, headaches, muscle and joint pain, and nausea,” according to the news release. “Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can lead to death within minutes.”
Even if a resident does not have a heater, they should seek indoor public facilities such as shopping malls, libraries or senior centers, according to the news release. Call 2-1-1 to find the closest shelter near you.
“Stay indoors,” L.A. County Public Health tweeted from its account, “and protect yourself from cold.”