Boston warns about frigid arctic temps, offers safety tips

A rush of frozen water clings to the side of a building on Congress Street. Photo: Michael Naughton/Metro
A rush of frozen water clings to the side of a building on Congress Street. Photo: Michael Naughton/Metro

Boston may not have had it as bad as certain parts of the country yesterday – here’s looking at you, Chicago – but with a windchill that dropped to negative 3, it’s safe to say residents were none-too-pleased to step foot outdoors.

Although temperatures are expected to rise slightly today, things don’t look much better.

According to the National Weather Service, Boston was 56 degrees at noon Monday, and 15 degrees at the same time Tuesday; a 41 degree difference. The NWS has forecasted a high near 23 today, with wind chills as low as negative 4 and gusts as high as 26 miles per hour.

By 5 p.m., Boston EMS treated and transported four patients yesterday because of exposure to the cold.

“There weren’t any life threatening injuries, but it’s a good reminder that people need to take appropriate precautions in this kind of weather,” said The Boston Public Health Commission Spokesman Nick Martin.

EMS responded to a total of eight cold-related emergency calls on Friday and Saturday.

“These are pretty small numbers, but we are definitely hyper sensitive when the temperature drops like this,” Martin said.

In response to the dangerous temperatures, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh yesterday directed city agencies to be on alert, and reminded residents to take precautions to stay warm and to look out for elderly family and neighbors who may be vulnerable to the cold.

Health officials said they are urging Bostonians to layer clothing, cover exposed skin, keep moving while outdoors and drink warm, and non-caffeinated fluids. Residents are also urged and keep pets indoors, and avoid heating their homes with ovens.

“I know it gets cold, and people tend to heat houses in ways that they shouldn’t,” Martin said. “We strongly advise against people using ovens or stoves to heat houses because of the threat of carbon monoxide.”

General heating safety tips for winter weather include:

  • Never use your oven for heat.
  • Electric powered portable heaters should never be left on while sleeping and should be kept at least three feet away from combustible materials.
  • Do not overload electrical sockets.
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • CO detectors are now required in homes by law. They must be within ten feet of sleeping areas.
  • Working smoking detectors should be on each floor of your home, particularly near bedrooms.
  • To avoid frozen pipes, let warm water drip overnight in faucets, preferably from a faucet on an outdoor wall, and leave cabinet doors open to allow heat to reach un-insulated pipes.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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