“Season of shivers”

Tammy Chamley | Editor

The Old Farmer’s Almanac; is it fact or fiction? For 230 years, the Almanac has prepared its readers for winter with an 80% accuracy of weather forecasts. From dry-mild winters to a polar vortex, this book has a variety of answers for winters to come.

The winter season is one of those things that several people have a strong reaction to – either they love the cold seasons with holidays, hot cocoa and cozying up with a book, or on the flip side those that dislike winter due to the cold temperatures, mounds of snow and icy roads. This year’s forecast according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac is being labeled as the “season of shivers.” The latest edition that was released late August, states that this winter will be punctuated by positively bone-chilling, below -average temperatures across most of the United States. 

“This coming winter could well be one of the longest and coldest that we’ve seen in years,” said Janice Stillman, Editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Several storms and abundant snowfall are predicted this winter for the Midwest. 

Last February, temperatures and wind chills reached record lows in several areas, businesses and communities across the nation were shut down due to frigid temperatures. Ice storms, low temperatures and power outages shook the south, while making national news. South Dakota residents are no stranger to cold temperatures but winters can be dangerous for anyone not prepared.

Dr. Matt Herber of Avera, explains the extreme danger of these frigid temperatures.  “With the ‘feels like’ temperature of -30, it can take less than 10 minutes for frostbite to occur on exposed skin,” Dr. Herber stated.  “With those temperatures that were closer to -50, 5 minutes or less is all that it takes to suffer damage from frostbite.”  The most frequent areas that experience frostbite are the ears, nose, cheeks, chin, and fingers and toes.   When it happens to the fingers and toes, they feel very cold, numb, and clumsy.  “If you start to feel a tingling, numb, or burning sensation of the skin, those can be the first signs of frostbite, and you should make every effort to get inside and warm up before serious damage occurs,” Dr. Herber explained.  “When frostbite has occurred, the skin will look white or grayish and feel firm or waxy.  You should seek medical attention if there is a large area of the skin that stays red, is blistering, or, of course, turns black.”

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