Frigid Temps Make for a Dangerous New Year

Updated: 12/30/2013 10:14 PM
Created: 12/30/2013 8:46 PM
By: Travis Dill

Temperatures are falling along with the New Year's ball this year making conditions dangerous across the Northland for anyone heading out to celebrate.

The Northland will hit 15 degrees below zero at midnight on New Year's Eve. With those frigid temperatures frostbite can set in within minutes according to doctor Mike Hieb.

“Simple, straight-forward things that your mother would tell you, like bring a hat and mittens, are very, very important in a circumstance like this,” Hieb said.

The winds will be calm, but that can make the temperatures deceiving. Walking just a few blocks between bars or parties can damage exposed skin. Hieb works at Essentia Health's Urgent Care and said a recent patient thought they were fine to walk home from a party.

“But they had no hat and no mittens. The had frostbite on ears and the tips of their fingers and ended up with fairly severe frostbite, which includes blistering and some skin loss,” Hieb said.

He said to avoid that pain Northlanders should try not to be vain.

“Common sense really prevails. You can wear boots to the party and put you high heels on when you get there,” Hieb said.

Duluth Police want everyone to get home safe, and suggest a little planning.

“If you are going to be walking home from the bars or if you are going to be walking home from those New Year's Eve parties make sure that you're walking with friends,” Sergeant Ryan Morris said.

Morris said finding a sober ride will be important because extra DWI patrols will be out for New Year's.

“They're going to be out there specifically looking for drunk driving behaviors, looking for indicators of drunk driving, and hoping to make DWI arrests and take them off the road,” Morris said.

Whether it's throwing on a few extra layers or giving up the keys, New Year's celebrations can be safe if you plan ahead.

Duluth Police said they are finding fewer people driving drunk on New Year's, but there were still 131 alcohol-related deaths on Minnesota roads last year.

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