Dangerous cold bears down on Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The wind chills will dip into the negatives tonight, something that can prove to be a health hazard for anyone who is outside.

Which is why health officials are making sure people are taking this kind of weather seriously.

“It is very important that if you are going to be outside for any length of time that, especially your extremities, your toes and your fingers, that we are keeping those covered with warm, dry coverings,” said Amy Gunderson, a Registered Nurse with Via Christi St. Francis Burn Unit.

Gunderson says the cold, frigid temperatures we’ve had so far this year have already proved to harmful.

“We are worried about the frost bite this year, we’ve seen 13 cases so far this year, generally we see two to three in a season,” said Gunderson.

While many people are choosing not to venture out in the cold, others are braving the frigid temps to make sure everyone is out of harms way.

Officer Nate Schweithale with the Wichita Police Departments Homeless Outreach Team was making sure there was nobody trying take shelter outside.

“We are trying to make sure we make it a priority to contact all the homeless out here, get them connected to the shelters, it is pretty dangerous when it gets this cold,” said Ofc. Schweithale.

Garland Edgerton, the Executive Director of Interfaith Ministries, says kept their winter emergency shelter open all day for those who needed a bed and place to keep warm.

“We had 90 people last night, obviously most of them have decided to stay in today,” said Edgerton.

Knowing the cold can turn dangerous for anyone who is outside for any length of time.

“It saves lives, it’s quite frankly if we were not open, a large number of these folks would not have a place to go,” said Edgerton.

With the morning temperatures expected to be hovering around the zero mark wind chills well below freezing, many school district officials have made the decision to cancel class for tomorrow.

USD 259 here in Wichita has decided to close school for Tuesday because of the weather.

KSN spoke with Susan Arensman, a spokesperson for USD 259.

She says when deciding whether to stay open or close, they monitor the weather conditions.

Arensman says wind chill is one of the many factors they look at with winter weather conditions.


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