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Preparing for Extremely Cold Temperatures - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Preparing for Extremely Cold Temperatures

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The weather that is coming this weekend will test us all with strong winds, rapidly dropping temperatures and extreme wind chill factors.

With these dangerous conditions, you will not want to spend much time outdoors. But some people may not have the conveniences of turning up their furnace or piling on the blankets.

Homeless shelters and local churches providing additional places to stay are not taking a lot of extra precautions. They started sheltering at the beginning of December and say they prepare for the worst from the beginning.

They have seen record numbers of people walking through the door, especially as we draw further into winter. But shelters and churches that have opened their doors, are not worried.

Coalition for Homeless Persons Director Laurie Baker says they are ready for what the weather may throw at them.

She says, "We send extra food to every site every week, a couple days worth of food."

The shelters and churches do not expect to see extra numbers. If they do, they both have reserve space for a few people that need to get out of the cold.

Baker says, "If we should have more numbers than we house at our church of the week, we have another church that has agreed to be our backup."

Also, if you are driving by and see someone who is out in the cold, call the police. Baker says the police are wonderful in making sure all people are staying safe.

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If you happen to be outside, let us talk about the signs of frostbite.

You will feel pain initially and see some numbness. You may even see some redness. At the worst, you may see blistering and darkening of the skin.

It is important to wear plenty of layers and be sure you are staying dry. If you are wet, it increases the effects of the cold on you.

Sanford Occupation Medicine Physician Dr. Robert Martino says, "Even if you're well dressed, many times you're gonna have exposure to things like your nose, your cheeks, your lips and you can experience there as some of your first places. Your ears, those are some of the areas most susceptible to frostbite."

If you do start to see signs of frostbite, get out of the cold immediately. Gradually warm up. Do not hop in the shower or you could get worse burns.

Also, note, if you have had frostbite in the past, you are more likely to get it again.

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