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Be prepared for extreme cold

Published in Emergency Services, For the Health of It Author: Bobbie J. Bertram, APRN, CNP

Trauma Services Nurse Practitioner
CentraCare Health

If the weather forecasts are accurate, the final few days of January will be extremely cold. Even by Minnesotan standards.

St. Cloud State University Meteorology Professor Bob Weisman reports that wind chills will range from -30 to -50 degrees from tomorrow through Wednesday — the coldest air that Minnesota has experienced in 10 years.

In these conditions, exposed skin can freeze in 10 minutes or less. Learn more about how to recognize and treat frostbite.

In these extreme conditions, vehicles can struggle to operate. And if you are able to get your car to start, roads can be slick due to snow and black ice caused by vehicle exhaust.

If you must travel during these conditions, prepare for an emergency by making sure your gas tank is at least one-half full. Also be sure to pack a Winter Driving Survival Kit that includes the following:

  • Cell phone adapter that works with your vehicle
  • Snacks
  • Booster cables
  • Shovel
  • Sleeping bags or blankets
  • Heavy-duty winter clothing, such as a heavy coat and snow pants or a snowmobile suit
  • Extra scarves and mittens
  • Heavy boots

If you become stranded, stay in your vehicle as it may be the safest place. Call 911 for help. Follow instructions from the authorities and don’t hang up until you know who you have spoken with and what will happen next.

Review more winter survival tips from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.