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Cold in Steamboat brings safety, health concerns

Doctor encourages community to look out for children, elderly

Cold-weather tips

■ Cold weather is dehydrating. Drink plenty of fluids and take in enough calories. A balanced diet enables the body to expend additional calories to keep a person warm.

■ Lay off the alcohol. It impairs judgment and causes the body to lose heat quicker.

■ Wear boots that are waterproof and insulating and dress in layers that can be added or removed as appropriate.



Cover all parts of the body, including the face.

Source: Dr. David Wilkinson



— Whether it is on the ski slopes or at home, when it gets this cold, it is often everyone else you should be worried about.

Dr. David Wilkinson, who practices emergency medicine at Yam­pa Valley Medical Center, said Wednesday afternoon that the hospital had not treated anyone with cold-related injuries.

“When it’s that brutally cold outside, people tend to stay inside or bundle up,” Wilkinson said. “We want everyone to be safe, and so far, it seems everyone has been.”

It’s often the people who cannot make safe decisions for themselves, like children and the elderly, who are most at risk, Wilkinson said.

“You have to protect the people that can’t take care of themselves,” he said.

That sometimes means telling children what to wear and when it is time to come inside. For the elderly, it may just require stopping by their homes to make sure they have everything they need.

The Routt County Council on Aging canceled its meal and bus services Wednesday because of the low temperatures. That meant some seniors might not have been able to make it to doctor appointments, the grocery store or the pharmacy, council Executive Di­­rec­tor Laura Schmidt said. She recommended calling or stopping by to check on elderly family members, friends or neighbors.

“I think sometimes older folks just stay in their house and wait for it to pass and maybe don’t have everything they need to be comfortable,” Schmidt said.

People should call the Council on Aging at 970-879-0633 with questions about meal and bus service today.

“We’re just going to have to see what the temps are,” Schmidt said.

Looking out for others is also important on the slopes, Steamboat Ski Patrol Director John Kohnke said. That means looking at each other’s skin and recognizing skin discoloration.

“If you have white spots, it’s time to go in,” Kohnke said.

People skiing alone should not hesitate to ask others to look over their skin, he added.

Wednesday was a relatively quiet day on the slopes in terms of crowds, Kohnke said, and those skiing seemed to be doing a good job of covering up.

“We have not seen any frostbite today of note,” Kohnke said. “People are quite masked up today.”

Often, it is those who are not prepared that become victim to the cold. Running out of gas or a broken-down car could be dangerous when temperatures are this low.

“It’s gonna get awful cold if you don’t have a coat,” Wilkinson said. “Once you start to get cold, your decision-making process starts to suffer.”

By the numbers

Steamboat Springs’ low temperature of minus 36 Wednesday tied the record for Feb. 2, set in 1956. In Yampa, the low of minus 35 set a new record for Feb. 2, breaking the previous record of minus 24, set in 1985.

■ Wednesday morning’s low temperatures across Colorado:

Walden: -42

Craig: -38

Meeker: -37

Steamboat Springs: -36

Yampa: -35

Leadville: -32

Kremmling: -27

Aspen: -25

Alamosa: -24

DIA: -17

Gunnison: -17

Sterling: -15

Telluride: -15

Boulder: -13

Colorado Springs: -12

Pueblo: -7

Durango: 1

■ Colo­rado record low: minus 61 on Feb. 1, 1985, in Maybell

■ Steamboat Springs record lows from 1893 to 2011:

1. -54 on Jan. 7, 1913

2. 50 on Jan. 12, 1963

3. -48 on Feb. 10, 1933

4. -46 on Jan. 13, 1963

5. -44 on Feb. 1, 1985

5. -44 on Feb. 1, 1951

5. -44 on Feb. 18, 1942

5. -44 on Jan. 22, 1937

5. -44 on Jan. 20, 1922

5. -44 on Dec. 18, 1909

■ Steamboat Springs record lows from 1893 to 2011 in December:

1. -44 on Dec. 18, 1909

2. -39 on Dec. 25, 1924

3. -38 on Dec. 13, 1932

4. -37 on Dec. 22, 1990

4. -37 on Dec. 24, 1924

6. -36 on Dec. 8, 1978

6. -36 on Dec. 26, 1962

8. -35 on Dec. 24, 1990

8. -35 on Dec. 28, 1916

10. -34 on Dec. 8, 2005

■ Steamboat Springs record lows from 1893 to 2011 in January:

1. -54 on Jan. 7, 1913

2. -50 on Jan. 12, 1963

3. -46 on Jan. 13, 1963

4. -44 on Jan. 22, 1937

4. -44 on Jan. 20, 1922

6. -43 on Jan. 10, 1962

7. -42 on Jan. 6, 1913

8. -40 on Jan. 11, 1962

8. -40 on Jan. 19, 1940

8. -40 on Jan. 9, 1930

■ Steamboat Springs record lows from 1893 to 2011 in February:

1. -48 on Feb. 10, 1933

2. -44 on Feb. 1, 1985

2. -44 on Feb. 1, 1951

2. -44 on Feb. 18, 1942

5. -42 on Feb. 6, 1989

6. -41 on Feb. 6, 1982

7. -40 on Feb. 9, 1929

8. -39 on Feb. 28, 1962

9. -38 on Feb. 19, 1942

10. -37 on Feb. 7, 1989

Source: National Weather Service

— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or e-mail mstensland@SteamboatToday.com


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