Extreme cold weather can lead to serious health issues. Exposure to cold may lead to low body temperature, frostbite, hypothermia, and even death. Shoveling snow or exercising in the cold could lead to heart attacks and stroke.
View our Cold-Related Illness Surveillance Reports.View our 2018-2019 Extreme Cold Emergency Plan.
Cold Weather Health Issues and ConcernsDriving Tips for Extreme Cold Weather
Hypothermia: body temperature falls below 95ºF. Nearly 600 Americans die each year from hypothermia.
If you suspect someone is experiencing hypothermia:
If you suspect someone is experiencing frostbite:
Use the layered approach when going outdoors:
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death. It is produced whenever fuel is burned, such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal. If appliances that burn fuel are used properly, the amount of carbon monoxide produced is usually not hazardous. However, if appliances are not working properly, are used incorrectly, or are not well ventilated, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can result.
According to the National Weather Service, winter weather-related Warnings, Watches, and Advisories are issued by your local National Weather Service office. Each office knows the local area and will issue Warnings, Watches, or Advisories based on local criteria. For example, the amount of snow that triggers a “Winter Storm Warning” in the Northern Plains is typically much higher than the amount needed to trigger a “Winter Storm Warning” in the Southeast.
A warning means you need to take action.
A watch means you should be prepared.
An advisory means you should be aware.
A Code Blue Extreme Cold alert means temperatures, including wind chill, are expected to be extremely cold and pose particular danger for certain vulnerable populations. Though all area residents who are subject to a Code Blue Extreme Cold alert are encouraged to take precautions to ensure warmth, the alert triggers additional response effort and services, particularly for the homeless and seniors.
For more information about winter weather warnings, watches, and advisories, visit https://www.weather.gov/safety/winter-ww.
The wind chill index is the temperature your body feels when the air temperature is combined with the wind speed.
Wind chill is based on the rate at which exposed skin loses heat, caused by the effects of wind and cold. As wind speed increases, body heat is lost more quickly. This causes skin temperature to drop.
High winds can lead to serious health problems, even when temperatures are only cool.
Depending on the amount of snow, roads can take time to be plowed. The Maryland Department of Transportation plows Interstates, roads with U.S. numbered routes, and roads with Maryland numbered routes only. Other roads (like neighborhoods) are plowed by your County's Department of Public Works.
As a rule, roads are plowed in this order:
300 W. Preston Street, Suite 202, Baltimore, MD 21201
410-767-0823 or 1-877-463-3464