Chilly winds prompt London's first Cold Weather Alert of the 2020 season: MLHU

The temperature is set to take a dramatic turn, prompting the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) to issue its first Cold Weather Alert of the 2020 winter season.

Environment Canada calls for an overnight low of -15 C with wind gusting between 30 and 50 km/h Thursday evening.

The alert will remain in effect until Saturday morning, as windchill values on Friday are expected to reach -22 C in the morning and -14 C overnight.

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Randy Walker, the Public Health Inspector with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, says this year’s winter has experienced extreme changes over short durations.

“We get wet, warm, almost spring-like weather, and then within 24 hours, there is up to a 30 degree change in temperatures,” he said.

Walker advised the public to dress warmly and cover exposed skin if spending time outside Thursday evening in order to reduce the risk of hypothermia and frostbite.

The MLHU says symptoms of frostbite include skin turning red, blue or in later stages, grayish-white. It often causes pain, numbness and stiffness, especially in the fingers, toes, ears and nose.

Those who suspect frostbite are recommended to warm the affected area by placing it next to warmer skin or by immersing in warm water.

Hypothermia is another concern for a cold night like Thursday’s.

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The health unit says it happens when a person’s internal body temperature drops below normal.

Symptoms can include pale skin, drowsiness, confusion and hallucinations.

The MLHU advises the public to contact London CAReS at 519-667-2273 if you see someone outdoors and in distress due to the cold.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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