Extreme cold makes Thursday’s storm dangerous

FingerLakes1.com staff meteorologist Drew Montreuil has the latest information on Thursday’s winter storm and why this event could prove to be extra dangerous.I want to preface this update with a little information on what I call about my NO HYPE GUARANTEE. My job as a meteorologist, first and foremost, is to keep everyone SAFE. That is why I do not hype things: so when a real threat comes up, you know the danger is real and take precautions. Whether that be tornadoes, flash floods… or this winter storm.It is not the snow I am primarily worried about, though I did increase the expected amounts again. It is the bitter cold that will accompany this storm. During the height of the storm late Thursday afternoon through Thursday night, it will be snowing hard, the wind will be gusty, visibilities will be very low and temperatures will be getting cold enough to cut down on the effectiveness of rock salt. As a result, I am expecting very bad travel conditions.The reason I am stressing the danger so much is the following very real scenario:With travel conditions so poor, there is a very real chance of any given vehicle going off the road and into the snowbank. Getting a tow out will take quite a while. Temperatures will be dropping to near or below zero, with winds gusting to 30mph. This will make it feel like -20º or colder. Frostbite can occur in less than 30 minutes at these temperatures, not to mention hypothermia. Furthermore, cars encased by snow do not have proper ventilation if they are running. This leads to a risk of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. I do not say this to scare anyone, only to make you AWARE of the dangers so you can AVOID them.If you MUST travel tomorrow, PLEASE take the following with you: – LOTS of WARM blankets.- Warm clothing, hats and gloves- High energy food (granola bars, etc.)- Water- Batteries & a Flashlight- Fully charged cell phoneIf you go in a ditch, use the blankets for warmth as much as you can with your car OFF to avoid any danger from carbon monoxide. If this is not enough to keep you warm, run your car with the windows slightly ajar to improve circulation and only run the car long enough to get warm.Again, this post is to keep you safe, not scare you. If it weren’t for the cold, this storm would not be anything out of the ordinary for our region. Stay safe and stay warm!

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