Dangerous Cold Temperatures

Dangerous Cold Temperatures

Feb 10, 2021

Media Contact: Gerry Bozarth | | (509) 477.7613 c (509) 939.1581

SPOKANE Co., WA – Spokane County’s relatively mild weather is turning into winter weather rapidly and could pose a threat to people and pets’ health or even their lives.

Andy Brown, Warning Coordination Meteorologist at National Weather Service reports:

Potent winter weather is impacting the northwest US Thursday and Friday bringing extremely cold temperatures.

  • North winds arriving Thursday morning through Friday morning could range 20-30 mph
  • Temperatures Thursday through Saturday
    • Afternoon temps in the teens and 20s
    • Morning temps in the single digits
    • Wind chill as cold as -10 to -20
  • Temperatures Thursday and Friday will be 20 degrees colder than we would typically expect for this time of year

Exposure to Cold Temperatures Increases Risk for Serious or Life-Threatening Health Problems

With low temperatures in the Spokane region expected to be below freezing over the next several days, Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) issued this health advisory. Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious or life-threatening health problems. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone, including animals, can be affected.

Extreme cold presents a dangerous situation that can result in health emergencies in susceptible people, such as those without shelter or who are stranded, or who live in a home that is poorly insulated or without heat.

Preparing for extreme cold

  • Stock up on emergency supplies for communication, food, safety, heating and vehicle.
  • winter weather checklists.
  • SRHD-Be Prepared for Emergencies
  • SRHD-Extreme Cold Preparedness
  • Listen to the radio or television, or follow social media channels, for winter storm forecasts and other information.
  • Have appropriate cold weather clothing available.
  • Make sure fireplace functions properly.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank.

During periods of extreme cold

When residents must use space heaters and fireplaces to stay warm, the risk of household fires increases, as well as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Use fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors—the fumes are deadly.

Here are other tips to keep residents safe during extreme cold temperatures:

  • If an individual must go outdoors, wear several layers of loose fitting, light weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear mittens rather than gloves. Wear a hat. Cover mouth with a scarf to protect lungs from extremely cold air.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia:
    • Signs of frostbite include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, or numbness.
    • Signs of hypothermia include slurred speech, disorientation, uncontrollable shivering, stumbling, drowsiness and body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
  • If a resident becomes trapped outside, get out of the wind and stay dry. Build a lean-to or snow cave if nothing else is available. Do not eat snow; it will make you too cold.
  • Do not drive unnecessarily.

Spokane County Emergency Management would like to remind Spokane County residents to be prepared for this life-threatening weather, we encourage you to stay home and only travel or go outside if necessary. Carry cold weather supplies in your vehicle such as blankets, food, and ensure your cell phone is fully charged. You can find tips on preparedness at and don’t forget to monitor weather conditions on TV and at the National Weather Service for up to date information. Finally, please register with to receive alerts that may affect your home or neighborhood during an emergency.

Spokane Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) reminds all pet owners to keep your pets inside. If you let them out for any reason, wait and let them back in right away. Pets are not equipped for this brutal cold weather and can suffer serious health issues or death if exposed to the severe cold we are expecting this week. If you have concerns for the safety of an animal that should be indoors, please contact SCRAPS so they may investigate the situation at: (509) 477-2532. After normal business hours, you may still report the issue at this number. For more information please visit: SCRAPS---Regional-Animal-Protection