DES MOINES, Iowa – Sub-zero wind chill temperatures will make being outside, for even a short time, extremely dangerous this week.
Officials are warning people to take extra precautions to stay warm and if you don’t have to brave the chilling cold – stay home.
Sgt. Nate Ludwig with the Iowa State Patrol says if you have to travel, make sure your vehicle has plenty of gas and a winter survival kit. He says communicate with friends and family about when you’re planning to arrive, so they’ll know whether to call for help if you become stranded.
The Red Cross offers the following safety advice, if you are heading outdoors:
- wear layers of lightweight clothing
- gloves and hats will help prevent losing body heat
- Know the signs of hypothermia which include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion, and severe shivering
- Watch for symptoms of frostbite including numbness and flushed grey, white, blue, or yellow skin discoloration. A waxy feel to the skin is also an indicator.
There are warming shelters set up in the city of Des Moines where anyone can get out of the cold.
Southridge and Merle Hay malls are serving as warming shelters as are public libraries, Central Iowa Shelter and Services, and the Bethel Mission.
DART buses will even give you a free ride to a warming shelter if you need it.
The hours that these shelters are open vary. You can find more information here.