Snow storm gone, but cold temps remain

Frostbite and hypothermia among concerns Monday night


The National Weather Service has removed the blizzard warning for Nassau County, and only a special weather statement remains for the area as of Friday afternoon.

As of 4:30 p.m., the most accumulation in Nassau County could be seen in Oceanside, which got 12.4 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Residents across the county have reported anywhere from 5 inches to over a foot, with snow height varying even on different sides of the same street, because of snow drifts created by high winds.

The National Weather Service statement said that the combination of dangerously low temperatures, ranging from the single digits to 15 degrees, along with northwest winds of 15 to 20 miles per hour — with gusts clocking as high as 35 mph — will create wind chills falling as low as -10 degrees. Wind chills below zero can lead to frostbite or hypothermia for anyone exposed to the cold.

Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of -20 degrees will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes. Frostbite causes
 a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, earlobes and the tip of the nose.

Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. The National Weather Service suggests getting medical help if these symptoms are present. While waiting for help, it recommends slowly warming any frostbitten areas of the body. Someone with hypothermia should change into dry clothing and be wrapped in a warm blanket covering the head and neck.

When the temperatures drop, one major concern for homeowners is frozen pipes. The New York State Office of Emergency Management advises residents to insulate pipes that are most susceptible to freezing — usually those near outer walls or in crawl spaces or attics —before a storm. Pipes can be wrapped in insulation, or covered in layers of old newspaper and then wrapped in plastic, to keep out moisture. In extremely cold weather, the department recommends letting faucets drip, and to make sure the heat is left on and set no lower than 55 degrees.

Other ways to winterize your home include inspecting your heating system, properly insulating walls, cleaning your gutters, and caulking or weather-stripping doors and windowsills, installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic on the inside to keep cold air out.

Tonight, temperatures across the county should dip into the single digits, but for the weekend, Nassau residents have rising temperatures to look forward to.