Another cold weather alert issued

Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / rjcphoto

With another blast of arctic air hitting the London area this week, the Middlesex London Health Unit has issued its third Cold Weather Alert of the season.

The alert was issued Monday afternoon, as forecasters predict temperatures in London and Middlesex County will fall to -14 C on Tuesday. Strong winds will make that feel more like -23 C. On Tuesday night, the temperature will fall to -20 C. The frigid weather will continue on Wednesday as the daytime high is expected to reach just -16C, while an overnight low temperature of -23 C is expected. The health unit says the cold weather alert will stay in place until Thursday, when a high temperature of -13 C is forecast.

“This Cold Weather Alert is a little different from what we’ve already had this winter, as it will be in effect for several days, which means that we need to be even more vigilant about how to beat the cold,” said Public Health Inspector Randy Walker in a statement issued Monday. “Not only do we need to dress appropriately if we’re going to be spending any time outdoors, but it’s also a good idea to check on elderly family members and neighbours to make sure they are keeping warm as well.”

Cold temperatures, such as those that are expected in the London area this week, can cause frostbite and hypothermia. Health officials recommend that anyone spending any time outdoors keep an eye out for the symptoms of frostbite, which include skin turning red, blue, or grayish-white. Pain, numbness, and stiffness can also be felt by people experiencing frostbite. In the event a person develops frostbite, the health unit says they should warm the affected area by placing it next to warmer skin or immerse it in warm, but not hot, water. The affected area should not be rubbed. People with severe cases of frostbite should seek emergency medical treatment.

The extreme cold also increases the risk of hypothermia, which takes hold when a person’s internal body temperature drops below normal. According to the health unit, symptoms can include pale skin, drowsiness, confusion, and hallucinations. Severe cases can cause a loss of consciousness, shallow breathing, and a hard to detect a pulse. Anyone exhibiting these symptoms should be taken for immediate medical treatment.

Health officials are also advising agencies that assist London’s homeless population to prepare for an increase in demand for services. Anyone who spots someone who is outdoors and in distress due to the cold is urged to call London CAReS at 519-667-2273 or 9-1-1 if it is a medical emergency.

A list of warming centres in the City of London can be found by clicking here.