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BRRRRR! Area Braces For Severe Cold Weather

Snowfall Causes Semi Rollover; Woman Trapped Inside Cab

January 2, 2014
By SHELLEY HANSON Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - This morning's snowfall is being blamed for several motor vehicle accidents including one that trapped and injured a woman inside a tractor-trailer's sleeping cab.

Just across the Belmont County line in Guernsey County, a tractor-trailer rolled on Interstate 70 westbound, trapping the woman inside the truck's cab. She received multiple injuries, but the extent of her condition was not available at press time. A Belmont County 911 dispatcher said medics wanted to use a medical helicopter to transport the woman, but could not because of the weather.

The Barnesville medical squad transported the woman to a local hospital instead. In addition to the semi rollover, another tractor-trailer jackknifed in the same area and several other vehicle accidents occurred.

Article Photos

Daniel Blake spreads salt with a tractor with a small snow plow attached to it near the 10th Street parking garage in
Wheeling this morning where
1-3 inches of snow was
predicted today.

Photo by
Scott McCloskey

Meanwhile, with temperatures anticipated to drop into the single digits tonight, the wind chill is forecast to hit as low as 15 degrees below zero. The National Weather Service is warning that hypothermia and frostbite are possible if precautions are not taken during tonight's freezing temperatures. The NWS issued the wind chill advisory for tonight into Friday morning.

Dr. Chad Anderson, Wheeling Hospital emergency room physician, said how quickly a person's skin freezes depends on the conditions. For example, frostbite can occur more quickly if moisture is involved. If water is involved, frostbite can occur in above-freezing temperatures. It is important to wear fabrics that wick moisture away from the body, such as wool, as cotton does not perform this action.

Those who must go outdoors are cautioned to dress appropriately. People who do not keep their extremities covered can face three types of exposure: frostnip, which causes skin discoloration and numbing; chilblain, which causes skin discoloration and some tissue damage; and frostbite, which is when skin and cells freeze causing tissue damage, necrosis and potential loss of fingers and toes.

"People should cover their exposed surfaces and minimize exposure," Anderson said, adding those who must go out into the cold should wear gloves, a hat and a scarf to cover their face.

Treatment for cold exposure includes removal from the cold and application of moist heat and warm water. Rubbing frozen digits can lead to more tissue damage. Smoking and alcohol use also should be avoided because they cause blood vessels to narrow, which can reduce a person's ability to stay warm. Anderson said hypothermia is a decrease in the body's core temperature. He noted there often is no symptoms of the condition except for feeling cold and shivering.

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