Extreme Cold Awareness
The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory that is estimated to impact the State
of Rhode Island this evening and last through Thursday morning. A Wind Chill Advisory is issued
when the wind chill index is likely to reach -15 to -24 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 3 hours.
Such dangerously low wind chills can result in hypothermia and frostbite can develop in just 30
minutes if proper precautions are not taken.
It is imperative that Rhode Islanders avoid unnecessary exposure to the cold. If you must venture
outside during periods of severe cold weather, please consider the following:
• Wear proper hats and gloves/mittens. Cover your face and neck in order to limit exposure of
bare skin to the cold.
• Dress in layers in order to retain heat.
• Get out of wet clothes immediately and warm the core body temperature with a blanket. Avoid
drinking caffeine or alcohol if you expect you or someone you are trying to help has hypothermia or
• Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
• Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy
feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
• Remember, pets get cold too! Keep pets inside and limit their exposure to the extreme cold too.
Also, it is important to remember that house fires occur more frequently in the winter due to a
lack of proper safety precautions when using alternate heating sources, such as unattended fires
and space heaters. To prevent a dangerous fire from occurring this winter, consider the following
• Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible (i.e. wallpaper,
bedding, clothing, etc.)
• Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed. Do not
leave children unattended near space heaters.
• Refrain from drying wet clothing over a space heater.
• Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are working properly and replace batteries as
• Use a fireplace screen when burning fires and burn only wood. NEVER burn paper or plastic.
Due to extremely low predicted temperatures, some Rhode Island communities are offering warming
centers to the public. To see which warming centers are open near you,
visit http://www.riema.ri.gov/response/warmingcenters.php, or contact your local municipality. For
more information on preparing for winter weather, visit our website at
For additional information, contact: Alex Ambrosius/401-462-7337