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Prepare Now for Extreme Cold and Possible Winter Weather

Release date: 
January 29, 2019
Release Number: 

PHILADELPHIA – As officials from the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III monitor the incoming cold front, residents across the Mid-Atlantic are encouraged to prepare for extreme cold temperatures and potential winter weather.

According to the NWS, back to back cold fronts will slice through the eastern two-thirds of the country to deliver one of the coldest arctic air intrusions in recent memory. From Tuesday through Thursday, expect frigid temperatures and bitterly cold wind chills, likely leading to widespread record lows and low maximum temperatures. “Everyone should continue to monitor their local weather forecasts for potential winter weather and cold impacts in their communities,” stated MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region III Regional Administrator. “Extreme cold can pose a significant danger to people, pets, and those exposed to the elements. Look out for your neighbors, stay warm, and if you have to travel be cautious during any potential winter weather conditions.”

Protective Actions You Can Take

  • Monitor local weather forecasts for the latest updates.
  • Follow the guidance of your local officials. Check with your local and state emergency management agency for the latest updates and available resources.
    • If you are told to stay off the roads, stay home.
    • When it is safe, check on your neighbors or friends nearby who may need assistance or extra support.
  • Limit your time outside. If you need to go outside, then wear layers of warm clothing. Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows. Never heat your home with a gas stovetop or oven.
  • Reduce the risk of a heart attack. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia and begin treatment right away.
    • Frostbite causes loss of feeling and color around the face, fingers, and toes.
      • Signs: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, firm or waxy skin
      • Actions: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.
    • Hypothermia is an unusually low body temperature. A temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency.
      • Signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, or drowsiness
      • Actions: Go to a warm room. Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin. Keep dry and wrapped up in warm blankets, including the head and neck.
  • Check on neighbors. Older adults and young children are more at risk in extreme cold.
  • Do not leave your pets exposed to extreme temperatures for long periods of time.
  • Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand for traction, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.

Additional Resources


FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Learn more about FEMA Region III at Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at and Follow us on Twitter at


Last Updated: 
January 29, 2019 - 10:52