Baby, it’s cold outside

 In Opinion

It has been a cold holiday season, but colder than Mars? Yikes!

Outdoor New Year’s Eve events in the region were cancelled thanks to this deep freeze and now meteorologists are warning of weather bombs.

There is a special weather statement in place for this weekend in our area. A cold snap is expected from late Thursday through Saturday: “A bitterly cold northwesterly flow will develop over southern Ontario Thursday. Extreme cold warning criteria of minus 30 is expected to be met in many places Thursday night into Friday and again Friday night into Saturday. The cold snap will end by Sunday as a southwesterly flow develops.”

The weather doesn’t help to coax people outdoors helping them fulfill their New Year’s resolutions to get off the coach and do more exercise.

Experts are saying these extreme cold temperatures are connected to global climate change.

Record breaking daily low temperatures, the long stretches of cold and the way the cold air is moving is all contributing to the evidence that the weather is climate related, to some extent, say meteorologists.

What we are seeing as a change in climate patterns is a measure of climate change, caused in part by human activity.

It’s a complicated scientific equation measure over long periods of time but there is a consensus that this period of extreme cold and this weekend’s weather bomb is a result of changing weather patterns.

What is so disturbing is what people say about it online. Reading online comments, one gets a strong sense that there are a lot of people out there who don’t want to consider that changing weather has anything to do with climate change. One only hopes that there is a huge majority of people who can accept the science and just don’t comment. Obviously most of us are not qualified to argue with the science behind climate change.

With the extreme cold comes specific challenges.

Health professionals warn us to limit exposure to the extreme cold. They say seniors and infants are most at risk. The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends keeping children indoors if the temperature falls below –25°C, or if there is a wind chill of –28°C.

Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warm. Refrain from drinking alcoholic or caffeinated beverages. They cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. As an alternative, drink warm beverages or broth to help maintain your body temperature.

People should also use caution when working outdoors or doing outdoor sports and activities and be aware of the signs of exposure. According to the health unit, frostbite can occur in as little as 30 seconds so dress warmly and cover exposed skin, wear several layers of loose fitting clothing made of wool, silk or polypropylene.

Emergency preparedness advocates always encourage people to be prepared for short term power outages and to have water on hand in case of frozen pipes and keep the car fueled if you are travelling.

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