A blast of polar air is making its way across all of Western New York. With dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills in the negative teens, the threat is real.
“It is very, very life threatening conditions if you are out there for any extended period of time, said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein says frostbite, hypothermia and cardiac events such as heart attacks are her biggest concern.
“Adults with poorly covered skin could develop frostbite within 20 to 30 minutes and children are even more vulnerable and older adults,” said Burstein.
Burstein says frostbite could cause irreversible skin damage. Anyone outside in this extreme cold should be covered completely from head to toe.
Hypothermia is another big concern which happens when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat.
“People can become very fatigued, they can become confused, they could have problems with their balance, they could have slurred speech,” said Burstein.
Erie County officials are asking people, if they can, to stay inside until the extreme temperatures ease up.
They are especially cautioning against shoveling.
“In the 2014 November storm, almost half of the deaths that resulted were heart attacks from people snow shoveling,” said Poloncarz.