Arctic airmass expected to dip temps into the 20s

Forecasters are predicting a very cold Christmas weekend in Louisiana with below freezing temps lasting longer than a day.

“A frigid Canadian arctic airmass is expected to impact the region late this week & through the Christmas weekend. The forecast is advertising lows in the mid-teens to mid-20s but there is a decent chance that a few areas might touch the lower teens perhaps single digits,” said the National Weather Service in New Orleans.

The “potent Arctic airmass” from Canada and Alaska is on track to arrive late Thursday night into Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather is expected to stay near frigid temperatures through Christmas day. The Baton Rouge area is expected to experience below freezing temperatures for more than 30 consecutive hours.

CHRISTMAS MOVIES FILMED IN LOUISIANA

Now is the time to prepare for these rare conditions. Get your warm clothes & check CO sensors. One hazard to prepare for will be the wind chill overnight Thursday and Friday. Strong winds combined with temps at or below freezing will cause wind chill (apparent temperature) readings to range from the mid-single digits to teens and could quickly lead to hypothermia.

The NWS suggests it is time to focus on the four Ps: people, pets, pipes and plants.

Here are a few tips from the NWS:

  • People: Check on children and elderly, they are especially vulnerable to the cold
  • Pets: Bring pets inside. Pets that must be left outside should have an enclosed shelter. Provide blankets for warmth.
  • Plants: Plants in containers should be brought inside. Cover sensitive outdoor plants with light sheets.
  • Pipes: Wrap exposed pipes and faucets. Allow water to drip from indoor faucets to prevent freezing/bursting.

Cold-related illnesses

Hypothermia

  • Body temperature under 98 degrees
  • Elderly lose ability to regulate body temperature
  • Medications can cause inability to regulate body temperature
  • Lack of shelter/clothing

Frostbite

  • Body tissue freezes
  • Generally 32 degrees to 10 degrees and up to 50 mph winds require direct skin exposure lasting over two hours

Prevention

  • Dress for cold weather
  • Stay indoors

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