The sun may be shining, but the bitter cold temps continue to dominate the forecast. With dangerous temperatures coming in the next few days, residents should be informed on how to handle the sub-zero conditions.

What To Know:

1. Temperatures are going to be dropping well below zero beginning the night of Thursday, Feb. 7. The National Weather Service in Bismarck is predicting temperatures will reach around -30 going into Friday morning, with the windchill bringing temps even lower, between -40 and -52. Tyler Kranz, meteorologist with the weather service, said residents can expect the sub-zero temps to persist through at least the next week. Residents should stay mindful of the changing conditions from day to day. With temperatures so low, exposure can cause frostbite and hypothermia in anywhere between five and 10 minutes.

2. Kranz said there are many things people can do to stay prepared for the bitter temperatures. First and foremost, he said, if you do not have to be outside, remain indoors. As that may not be an option for many, Kranz said dressing appropriately is the best defense against the cold. Dressing in layers is recommended, with Kranz saying at least three layers is optimal to keep out the cold. Minimizing exposed skin will help prevent frostbite. Wear gloves, a hat, a scarf or face mask and warm boots. Pets can also suffer from frostbite and hypothermia, so trips outside should be as quick as possible. Kranz suggested residents should only keep pets outside as long as they themselves are willing to be out in the cold.

3. If you have to be out on the road, carrying a winter survival kit is a necessity. A well-stocked survival kit should include items like extra blankets, candles, matches, non-perishable food items and water. Additional items such as a bag of sand, a shovel, tow rope and an ice scraper are also a good idea, in the event your vehicle becomes stuck and you need to dig it out. Remember to limit your time outside, as frostbite can strike quickly. If your vehicle does become stuck, don’t leave the vehicle. A person can succumb to exposure in less than 10 minutes, and, during a snowstorm, one could become lost due to low visibility. It is always best to remain with your vehicle until help can arrive.

4. When temperatures reach such lows, many residents may experience frozen pipes and other weather complications. Keep the heat on, of course, but among other ideas Kranz suggested are leaving the cabinet doors under your sink open, to allow warm air to circulate and keep pipes warm. For certain homes, heat tape is sometimes need to prevent pipes from freezing over. When it comes to making sure your vehicles start, if you do not have access to an enclosed garage, you can start your vehicle every four to five hours, letting it run for 10 to 15 minutes to keep the engine warm.

5. Staying up to date on changing conditions is another way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. There are a variety of weather apps that can send alerts as conditions change. Visiting www.weather.gov will keep you informed of current conditions in your area, as well as showing how temperatures will look throughout the day.

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