By Adrianna Oliver
It seems each and every winter keeps getting colder and colder, and right now during one of our worst winters, dangerous weather is affecting more than half of the country, and even causing hypothermic deaths.
This winter season has affected people living in states from Arkansas to Tennessee, and up along the east coast from Florida to Maine. This brutal season has brought record low temperatures, massive amounts of snow, and caused many deaths. Sadly, Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s famous groundhog, has predicted six more unrelenting weeks of winter.
Well below freezing temperatures have been recorded all across the Northeast, and everyone has plunged into a deep freeze. Temperatures have plummeted across the US.
Niagara Falls has frozen in place, attracting tourists to see the rare site. Ice cutters are being used to prevent the water from jamming up, because the river that flows through is an important source of power.
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, a record low temperature of -7 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded on February 23, breaking its previous record of -5 degrees Fahrenheit set on that date in 1900. Wind chills made it even colder—somewhere between -15 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Low wind chills call for strong winds and cold air – which can lead to frostbite, hypothermia, or even death.
In frigid temperatures, frostbite can affect exposed skin in under 30 minutes. Cold temperatures combined with strong winds can cause frostbite to happen more quickly.
Hypothermia is at risk for people who choose to venture into this freezing weather. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio warned people that this weather is something to be taken very seriously. Some people are much more vulnerable than others to developing hypothermia.
“Kids, especially little kids, can lose a third of their body heat through their heads when they’re outside,” pediatrician Dr. Deborah Lonzer said. “So they have to be really well wrapped up.”
This was the case for 3-year-old boy Elijah Marsh, who was lost for six hours before his uncle realized he was missing. He was found later that day, two blocks from his home. While Elijah was outside in the frigid weather, he was only wearing a t-shirt, a diaper, and boots.
The temperature recorded that night was -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Wind chills had made it feel like -27 degrees. Elijah had no vital signs of life when policemen found him in the snow. He died later that day with his parents at his side.
At least 23 other people have died because of this cold weather—most of the deaths happening in Tennessee from hypothermia. One dialysis patient even died because he was unable to receive his treatment due to the weather.
Ice, sleet, and snow can bring a halt to travel in the southern states like Tennessee, where people aren’t as prepared for this weather as people are in the northeast.
Along with record low temperatures, record high snowfalls have been recorded.
In Boston, MA, the snowiest month on record was recorded, totaling to a whopping 45.5 inches of snow in a month. This surpassed the city’s previous record of 43.3 inches of snow in January 2005. So far, this is Boston’s third snowiest winter on record – totaling with 95 inches of snow.
In the time frame of only three weeks, four relentless snowstorms have hit the northeast. It seems for people that the snow will never stop coming. “It comes to a point where you can’t keep up with it,” said Andrew Connor, resident of Weymouth County right outside of Boston.