by Melissa Brunner
Since we can't change the weather, sometimes, all you can do is laugh about it. Such is the case with the extreme cold temperatures we, along with much of the nation, are seeing this week. You know it's bad when a trip to Anchorage, Alaska would bring you a warm-up!
The fact is, however, that this cold snap is really no laughing matter. When wind chills hit -20 to -30, as they did around much of northeast Kansas Monday morning, exposed skin can freeze in as little as one to five minutes! Spend much time outdoors and you're also at risk for hypothermia.
As the forecast called for the temperatures to dip, we received many calls in the newsroom asking us to remind people to bring their pets inside from the extreme elements. That is a fantastic reminder, but also consider this: the Topeka Rescue Mission reports an uptick in the number of people who sought shelter Sunday night - more than 300 people. Think about how many more potentially spent the night outdoors or in a car or in an unheated building. This weather event should remind us how great the need is in our community and force us to think about what we can do year-round to avoid people finding themselves in such a situation.
If you want some reminders on how to tell if you or a loved one is having medical trouble in the cold, visit the CDC's page on cold stress at www.cdc.gov.
To find out how you can help the Topeka Rescue Mission, visit www.trmonline.org/.