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Cuomo urges caution as polar vortex will bring extremely cold temperatures across state


Thu, Jan 28th 2021 08:15 pm

Temperatures will drop below zero & wind chills are expected 20 to 30 degrees below zero in several upstate locations

Extreme cold temperatures expected to last through Saturday night

Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged New Yorkers to prepare for a bought of dangerous outdoor conditions as a polar vortex will bring extremely cold temperatures to several areas of the state beginning Thursday night. Temperatures are forecast to fall below zero in several upstate locations with wind chills expected to plummet 20 to 30 degrees below zero. Conditions are expected to last through Saturday night, increasing the risk of frostbite and hypothermia, as well as potentially causing water main breaks and pipe bursts from exposure to prolonged cold temperatures.

Cuomo urged New Yorkers to practice safe winter behavior and limit exposure to extreme cold.

"A polar vortex will usher in artic air from Canada and temperatures will be dangerously cold for the next couple of days, so I am urging all New Yorkers to use extreme caution when venturing outdoors," Cuomo said. "Being outside in these conditions can go from uncomfortable to deadly in a matter of minutes, especially for children and the elderly. If you must venture outside over the next few days, dress in layers, limit your time in the elements, and take the necessary precautions to remain safe."

Bitter cold temperatures and northwest winds are expected to push into the state Thursday evening. Areas in Western, Central and Northern New York and the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley and Capital regions could see temperatures drop below zero and experience frigid wind chills as low as 20 to 30 degrees below zero at times, especially during the overnight hours. Wind gusts could reach up to 25 mph in some locations, especially in areas along the Great Lakes. Friday night's low in the Adirondacks is expected to fall to -10.

The extreme cold temperatures are expected to last through Saturday night. Forecasters are also watching a storm system that could bring more snow to New York next week.

For local warming shelters, contact the local emergency management office. For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.

Extreme Cold Safety Tips

√ Dress appropriately.

√ Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air between the layers acts as an insulator. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven, water-repellent and hooded.

√ Always wear a hat or cap on your head since half of your body heat could be lost through an uncovered head.

√ Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold.

√ Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch each other.

Physical Exertion

Winter storm conditions and cold waves are the deadliest types of weather, as cold temperatures put an extra strain on one’s heart. Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car, can increase the risk of a heart attack. To avoid problems, remember these tips:

√ Stay warm, dress warm and slow down when working outdoors.

√ Take frequent rests to avoid overexertion.

√ If you feel chest pain – stop, and seek help immediately.


Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, especially in children and the elderly.

Watch for these symptoms:

√ Inability to concentrate

√ Poor coordination

√ Slurred speech

√ Drowsiness

√ Exhaustion

√ Uncontrollable shivering followed by sudden lack of shivering

If a person's body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, seek emergency medical assistance immediately. Remove wet clothing, wrap victim in warm blankets, and give warm, nonalcoholic, noncaffeinated liquids until help arrives.


People working or playing outdoors during the winter can develop frostbite and not even know it. There is no pain associated with the early stages of frostbite, so learn to watch for these danger signs:

√ Skin may feel numb and become flushed, then turns white or grayish-yellow; frostbitten skin feels cold to the touch.

√ If frostbite is suspected, move the victim to a warm area and cover the affected area with something warm and dry. Never rub it!

√ Get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible.

For more cold weather safety tips, visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/winter.

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