Cold Wave
Cold Weather
Cold temperatures and high winds wind can create life threatening conditions during the Winter. Read more about it below. 
About Wind Chill 
Winter in Arkansas is generally not harsh...at least not as brutal as in areas farther north. Even so, Arctic fronts make it this far south at times...and it can become cold. The question is:  How cold does it get and how should you protect yourself when temperatures plummet?
During the Winter months, temperatures will periodically drop below freezing (32 degrees)...with readings below 0 degrees on rare occasions. Now let's factor in the wind. With increased wind speeds, it feels colder than it actually is.
WIND CHILL INDEX °F
  WIND SPEED (MPH)
TEMP (°F) 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
-25 -40 -47 -51 -55 -58 -60 -62 -64
-20 -34 -41 -45 -48 -51 -53 -55 -57
-15 -28 -35 -39 -42 -44 -46 -48 -50
-10 -22 -28 -32 -35 -37 -39 -41 -43
-5 -16 -22 -26 -29 -31 -33 -34 -36
0 -11 -16 -19 -22 -24 -26 -27 -29
5 -5 -10 -13 -15 -17 -19 -21 -22
10 1 -4 -7 -9 -11 -12 -14 -15
15 7 3 0 -2 -4 -5 -7 -8
20 13 9 6 4 3 1 0 -1
25 19 15 13 11 9 8 7 6
30 25 21 19 17 16 15 14 13
35 31 27 25 24 23 22 21 20
A Wind Chill Index Chart is shown above. For an image, click here.
The "wind chill index" is considered dangerous when temperature and wind speed combine to make it feel like 0 degrees or lower.  For example, using the chart above...a temperature of 15 degrees with a wind speed of 25 mph net a wind chill index of -4 degrees. Other than the chart, try using our meteorological calculator by clicking here.

When wind chill index values reach 0 degrees for several hours over a fairly large area (with a wind speed of at least 10 mph)...the National Weather Service will usually issue a Wind Chill Advisory.

When wind chill index values reach -15 degrees for one hour over a fairly large area (with a wind speed of at least 10 mph)...a Wind Chill Warning may be posted.

Current Wind Chill Index Values
NOTE: For Wind Chill Index values, look for WCI in REMARKS. If WCI is N/A (not available), then there is data missing such as temperature (TMP) or wind speed (WIND)...or WCI is above 35 degrees.
   WEATHER ROUNDUP FOR ARKANSAS
   NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LITTLE ROCK AR
   200 AM CDT FRI APR 25 2014
   
   CITY           SKY/WX    TMP  WIND     REMARKS
   FAYETTEVILLE   CLEAR     50   CALM     WCI N/A (b)
   FORT SMITH     CLEAR     51   W12      WCI N/A (b)
   HARRISON       CLEAR     52   NW13G20  WCI N/A (b)
   BATESVILLE     MOCLDY    59   W9       WCI N/A (b)
   JONESBORO      CLOUDY    61   W15      WCI N/A (b)
   LITTLE ROCK    PTCLDY    60   NW8      WCI N/A (b)
   N LITTLE ROCK    N/A     58   W6       WCI N/A (b)
   WEST MEMPHIS   CLOUDY    62   W7       WCI N/A (b)
   HOT SPRINGS    CLEAR     54   W3       WCI N/A (b)
   RUSSELLVILLE   CLEAR     57   W8       WCI N/A (b)
   MOUNT IDA      CLEAR     55   W5       WCI N/A (b)
   TEXARKANA      CLEAR     59   NW3      WCI N/A (b)
   EL DORADO      CLEAR     59   NW8      WCI N/A (b)
   PINE BLUFF     CLEAR     59   SW7      WCI N/A (b)
   MONTICELLO     CLEAR     60   W8       WCI N/A (b)
Black color (b): Above dangerous WCI value or no WCI value available (N/A). 

Light blue color (l): Approaching dangerous WCI value (1 to 6 degrees). Frostbite and hypothermia are possible with prolonged exposure to the cold.

Dark blue color (d): Dangerous WCI value (0 to -14 degrees). Frostbite and hypothermia are likely with prolonged exposure to the cold.

Purple color (p): Very dangerous WCI value (-15 degrees or below)... and not often reached in Arkansas. Frostbite and hypothermia are becoming more likely with prolonged exposure to the cold.

Cold Disorders (Symptoms)
 
Extreme cold can affect you physically if you're not careful. Read about symptoms below.
 
FROSTBITE: This occurs when your body tissue freezes. A loss of feeling and/or a white or pale appearance will be noted. Areas most susceptible are fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of the nose.

HYPOTHERMIA: Body temperature drops below 95 degrees....with uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapse, frequent stumbling, drowsiness or exhaustion.

Cold Disorders (First Aid)
 
If you or someone else has been affected adversely by the cold, below are some first aid suggestions.
 
FROSTBITE and HYPOTHERMIA: Warm the person (or affected areas) slowly and seek immediate medical assistance. Warm the body core first, not the extremities. Arms and legs should be warmed last because stimulation of the limbs can drive cold blood toward the heart and lead to heart failure. Use your own body heat to help. Put the person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a blanket.

Do not administer something with caffeine in it (like coffee or tea) or alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, can cause the heart to beat faster and hasten the effects the cold has on the body. Alcohol, a depressant, can slow the heart and also hasten the ill effects of cold body temperatures.
Staying Warm/No Overexertion
Dress warmly when headed outdoors! If you must be outside for any length of time, wear several layers of loose-fitting, light-weight clothing. The layers actually trap warm air, and keep the cold air out.
In addition to a coat and scarf, wear a hat and mittens as well (since more than half of your body's heat escapes through your head and hands). Also, you might want to cover your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold.
Don't forget about your pets! If you leave them outdoors, you might consider providing something warm like a blanket or sweater (especially short haired animals with little natural protection).  Don't forget your pets!
In addition to dressing for the weather, don't overexert yourself! The cold is already taxing your body. Inhaling cold air is hard on internal organs...and causes the body to work overtime to stay warm. Any added exercise (such as shovelling) will cause the body to break down faster (especially those who are elderly or unfit)...with heart attacks fairly common during Winter. Overexerting yourself during the cold months is not necessary! When you feel tired, stop what you are doing and finish the job later. Or...get help from a neighbor or friend.
Cold Wave For more about cold weather and safety information from the National Weather Service, click here.

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