Chill brings closings, concerns

It’s still cold.

Schools, churches, businesses and other organizations began shuttering their doors Monday ahead of another onslaught of beyond freezing temperatures.

The National Weather Service in Cleveland reported a high temperature of near 2 degrees today with a wind child value as low as -28. A low of -10 with wind chill values as low as -29 was expected.

Temperatures are expected to start climbing again Wednesday, with a high near 11 and a low around 5.

The Red Cross of Northeast Ohio on Monday announced two additional warming centers in Ashland and Stark County. It will continue to operate its other warming centers, including the Mahoning County center, 3530 Belmont Avenue, Suite 7, Youngstown, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Trumbull County Health Department is urging people to stay in the warmth of their homes, if at all possible – especially children and the elderly.

Nursing Director Sandra Swann said hypothermia and frostbite are two concerns when temperatures dip this low, and that minimizing exposure to the elements is key.

She said if you must go out, dress warmly: Wear a hat, gloves, scarf or face mask, warm socks and appropriate shoes such as boots.

Frostbite occurs most often in the extremities, such as your fingers, Swann said.

“If your hands and feet get very cold, to the point that you feel like you’re getting the frostbite or you’re starting to feel that the feeling’s leaving your fingers, you want to warm them back up gradually,” she said. The reason you don’t want to warm them up quickly, such as running them under warm water, is that you can do more harm than good.

“If you’re losing the sensation in your hands, you’re not going to be able to feel how hot the water is. Stick them under your arms or, for example, the heat of an armpit can be used to heat your fingers, but don’t use anything that’s real hot. You could actually cause more damage like a severe burn,” she said.

While frostbite is more of an injury, hypothermia is a serious condition that can occur from being outside for long periods of time without protective clothing or after clothing gets wet.

“Hypothermia is when the temperature can cause your body to lose heat faster than it can be produced,” Swann said.

Some signs that you may be experiencing hypothermia include shivering, confusion, slurred speech or memory loss. Swann said when you see someone exhibiting those symptoms, get them to a warm place immediately.

“Remove any wet clothing or get them into something warm. Provide them a warm beverage to start to warm up the internal part of the body,” she said, stressing that it is crucial to seek medical attention if you suspect hypothermia or frostbite.

“My advice right now is if you don’t have to go out, don’t. Stay in your home or stay somewhere warm,” she said.

But despite the heavy chill, some residents were graced with works of art.

Rod Linger of Johnston awoke Monday to see hundreds of “snow cylinders” had formed on his property overnight. Snow cylinders, or snow rollers, are snow formations that are created when strong winds pick up moist snow and blow it across the ground. The snow rollers often resemble doughnuts standing up, or rolls of toilet paper, and vary in size.

Optimal conditions for snow rollers to form, according to the National Weather Service, include an existing icy snow cover that additional wet or loose snow does not stick to and wind that is strong enough to scoop out balls of snow and roll them across a slope.

Linger, who has lived at his Bradley Brownlee residence for more than 60 years, said he has never seen a snow roller until now.

“The conditions were just right last night for them to form,” he said.