Winter storm, frostbite warnings now in effect for Ottawa
At least 15 cm of snow to fall starting Saturday afternoon with wind chill of -35 or below
A winter storm warning has been issued for Ottawa, Gatineau and areas of eastern Ontario as at least 15 centimetres of snow are expected to fall starting this afternoon.
Environment Canada says there will be significant snowfall and blowing snow overnight Saturday into Sunday morning.
- NEED TO KNOW | Frostbite: How to avoid, detect and treat
Drivers should expect bad road conditions.
This also comes after Ottawa Public Health issued a frostbite warning for Friday and Saturday. Officials expect the temperature to feel like –35 degrees Celsius or colder due to the wind chill.
Tips for frostbite warning
That means exposed skin can freeze in less than 10 minutes. Health officials list these tips to avoid frostbite:
- Get to a warm area before frostbite sets in. If it is too cold outside, consider staying indoors.
- Keep extra mittens and gloves in the car, house or backpack.
- Wear larger mittens over your gloves.
- Wear a scarf to protect the chin, lips and cheeks. They are all extremely susceptible to frostbite.
- Wear two pairs of socks — wool if possible.
- Keep feet warm and dry.
- Do not drink alcohol, which narrows blood vessels and promotes frostbite plus hypothermia.
If you are wondering if you might have frostbite, there are four signs. Health officials call them the four "P's:"
- Pink: reddish in colour (first sign).
- Pain: becomes painful.
- Patches: white, waxy-feeling patches show when skin is dying.
- Pricklies: areas feel numb.
If you do notice you have frostbite, Ottawa Public Health advises you do the following:
- Do not rub or massage affected areas. It may cause more damage.
- Warm up the area slowly. Use a warm compress or your own body heat to re-warm the area but don't use a compress that is too hot. Underarms are a good place.
- If toes or feet are frostbitten, try not to walk on them.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you see white- or grey-coloured patches or if the area is numb.
Paramedics advise residents to seek immediate medical attention if you notice a severe frostbite.