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Cold Weather Alert Terminated: January 30, 2014: As a result of more mild conditions and the Environment Canada forecast calling for conditions over the next few days that fall outside of the Cold Weather Alert criteria, we are terminating the Cold Weather Alert effective immediately.

January 24, 2014: Based on current Environment Canada weather statements for Elgin County areas, the Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Franklin Warsh, is EXTENDING THE COLD WEATHER ALERT for Elgin County until Thursday January 30th.

Environment Canada has stated that an Arctic low pressure system will be tracking through Southern Ontario Saturday with very strong and gusty southwesterly winds in advance of the low, being forecast to begin Friday afternoon. Wind speeds of 40 to 60 km/h are likely across the region with gusts to 80 km/h possible near the Great Lake shores. The combination of the strong gusty winds will add to the severity of predicted air temperatures. The Health Unit will continue to monitor the weather conditions regularly as conditions may change.

A Cold Weather Alert is initiated in the following circumstances, when one or more of these criteria are met:

  • Daily predicted low temperature of -15° Celsius without wind chill; or
  • The wind chill reaches the level at which Environment Canada issues a warning for outdoor activity for people in the Elgin County area via London airport weather stations.
  • Predict extreme weather conditions, such as a blizzard or ice storm.

January 20, 2014: The Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Franklin Warsh, has issued a COLD WEATHER ALERT for Elgin County. Based on the Environment Canada forecast, air temperatures are predicted to fall to daily lows of -18° Celsius and persist for the next several days with extreme wind chills until Friday January 24th.

This 3rd Cold Weather Alert for 2014 will be in effect until Friday, January 24th, when daytime temperatures are forecast to moderate. Extreme caution is advised for people heading outdoors. Exposed skin may freeze in less than 5 minutes.

The residents of Elgin County should take precautions during this cold weather alert. Overexposure to cold may result in hypothermia, which occurs when a person's body temperature drops below normal. Normal body temperature ranges from 36.1 to 37.8° Celsius (97 to 100° Fahrenheit).

Symptoms of hypothermia may include:

  • pale skin
  • lethargy
  • confusion and hallucinations
  • In the initial stages a person may shiver considerably, but as their body temperature drops, shivering may also decrease

In a severe case of hypothermia a person may display the following symptoms:

  • the person is unconscious
  • breathing is shallow
  • pulse is irregular and hard to detect
  • If someone is found with these symptoms, immediate emergency medical treatment is necessary to prevent coma or death.

If you suspect someone may be suffering from hypothermia:

  • seek medical attention immediately
  • if possible, move the person to a warm area and dress them in warm clothing
  • offer warm water, juice or milk
  • do not offer alcohol or hot drinks

To avoid hypothermia or frostbite people are advised to:

  • dress warmly; layer clothing
  • wear a hat - 30% of body heat escapes through the head
  • avoid alcohol
  • drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration (please note that drinks containing caffeine can dehydrate)
  • limit outdoor activity

Symptoms of frostbite include:

  • skin turning red, blue or a gray/white
  • pain, numbness and stiffness, especially in fingers, toes, ears and nose which are most susceptible

If you suspect frostbite:

  • warm the affected area next to warmer skin or immerse in warm, not hot water
  • do not rub the area; re-warming may take 30-60 minutes
  • seek emergency medical treatment for a severe, blistering case of frostbite

What the Public Can Do During a Cold Weather Alert

Members of the public can help by checking on elderly and handicapped neighbours to ensure they are not experiencing any difficulties related to cold temperatures and to call Emergency Services for help if needed.


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