- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2003

Today, according to local weathermen, will be the coldest day in seven years a forecast that prompted public health officials to warn people not to spend too much time outdoors.
Washington-area temperatures are expected to top out in the upper teens, with 20 mph northwest winds making the day feel even colder.
Some commuters this morning will face temperatures in the single digits for their drive to work, according to the National Weather Service.
"Another surge of arctic area will move in to the area," said David Manning, a meteorologist at the Sterling, Va., office. "This is one of the colder arctic air masses we've seen in a while."
Most at risk are older adults who have difficulty maintaining body temperature and children who are more prone to heat loss, said Dr. Karyn Berry, communicable disease control bureau chief for the D.C. Health Department.
The gravest danger during days of bitter cold is hypothermia, she said.
"Severe hypothermia can lead to cardiac and respiratory failure, and then death," Dr. Berry said.
Hypothermia begins when a person's internal body temperature drops below 95 degrees, compromising mechanism control, she said.
It hasn't been this cold in the region since Feb. 4, 1996, when the high was only 19 degrees.
Other parts of the country from the high Plains regions of the Midwest, down to Texas and throughout the upper East Coast have been in the icebox for more than a week. New York City hasn't registered a temperature above freezing in 10 days. Morning lows yesterday were 20 below zero at International Falls, Minn., Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Watertown, N.Y.
Blame it on the cold high-pressure air masses steadily moving south from the Arctic Circle, Mr. Manning said.
"This happens to be the coldest we've seen in a while," Mr. Manning said. "It's like cold molasses: It's denser than its surroundings and it displaces warmer air."
Highs tomorrow are expected to be in the low 30s and on Saturday the highs will reach the mid- to upper 30s, Mr. Manning said. By comparison, temperatures yesterday averaged 22 degrees, said Andy Woodcock, also a National Weather Service meteorologist.
Dr. Berry said people should look out for others who might be suffering from hypothermia in its early or full-blown stages. Immediate medical attention is available in the District by calling a city government hot line at 800/535-7252.
Montgomery County will operate a 24-hour crisis center, said Esther Bowring, a county spokeswoman. The number is 240/777-4000.

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