Temperatures on Tuesday plummeted to icy lows, and as most mid-Michigan residents know, the extreme cold can cause some big problems.
The record low was 18 degrees below zero. This is the earliest in December that the weather has ever been this cold. It breaks the old record of eight below zero on Dec. 3 in 1869.
The cold caused the water main on Cedar St. in Mason to break. The department of public works says it usually takes a few days of extreme cold before weaker pipes begin to break.
The Michigan Department of Transportation says on a day like this, its first priority is de-icing the roads. Cold weather leads to cracked roads later on down the road.
The coldest temperature in December in Lansing is 25 degrees below zero, set on Dec. 8, 1864.
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Preparing for Cold Weather
- Be alert to weather changes
Pay close attention to weather changes, especially when the temperature falls quickly within a short period of time.
- Put on adequate clothing
Put on dry, light and comfortable clothes that are good for keeping warm. Do not put on clothes that are too bulky, and do not dress too tightly, which may restrict blood circulation or hinder body movements. Be sure to keep the head, neck, hands and feet warm.
- Sufficient food and drink
Eat and drink hot and easily digestible food and beverages with higher calories, like hot milk, soup, noodles and rice. Alcohol is not a good means for keeping warm. Although one feels warm immediately after drinking alcohol, it actually accelerates the loss of body heat, as alcohol dilates blood vessels.
- Keep your home warm
Keep your home warm, but well ventilated. To keep out drafts, repair cracks in windows, doors and walls. When using electric heaters, make sure there is indoor ventilation. Do not overload the electrical sockets which could overheat and lead to fire or burn injuries.
What is hypothermia?
- Hypothermia occurs when your body's control mechanisms fail to maintain a normal body temperature.
- Normal core body temperature can range between 98.9 F and 99.9 F. An internal body temperature of 95 F or lower signals hypothermia.
- Signs and symptoms that may develop include gradual loss of mental and physical ability. Severe hypothermia can lead to death.
- Nearly 700 Americans die of hypothermia each year.
- Those at greatest risk are older adults, who account for half of hypothermia-related deaths, and children.
Tips to avoiding hypothermia
Before you or your children step out into cold air temperatures, remember this simple advice: C-O-L-D.
- C for Cover Wear a hat or other protective covering to prevent body heat from escaping from your head, face and neck. Cover your hands with mittens instead of gloves. Mittens are more effective than gloves are because mittens keep your fingers in closer contact with one another.
- O for Overexertion Avoid activities that would cause you to sweat a lot. The combination of wet clothing and cold weather can give you the chills.
- L for Layers Wear loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Outer clothing made of tightly woven, water repellent material is best.
- D for Dry Stay as dry as possible. In the winter, pay special attention to places where snow can enter, such as in loose mittens or snow boots.
Source: A compilation of Web Reports contributed to this report.