The coldest temperatures in nearly a quarter of a century arrived in central Indiana Sunday and are expected to linger through Tuesday with daytime highs below zero. Gusting winds make the air temperature feel even cooler (25 to 40 degrees below zero).
A real concern for individuals is hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia is defined as prolonged exposure to cold to the point in which the human body cannot produce heat as quick as it dissipates it. Once this occurs, the body’s internal safety mechanism begins to shunt blood flow from the body’s extremities (hands, fingers, feet and toes) to internal organs as a means of protection.
Continued exposure to severe cold temperatures can cause the brain to not function properly (think clearly and cause the body to not move properly).
Another major problem associated with extended exposure to cold temperatures is frostbite. Frostbite generally affects a persons’ extremities: fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Once affected, the areas become numb, may turn white (as blood is shunted or diverted to other parts of the body), prolonged exposure can cause tissue damage.
As a result of the subfreezing temperatures, area schools were closed as were county and city government offices. Outpatient services at Rush Memorial Hospital were also closed Monday and it was learned shortly after noon Monday they will remain closed Tuesday.
Although Rush County was spared from extensive power outages that many Hoosier communities experienced, a brief power outage was realized in the southern part of the Rushville city limits Monday, as workers worked to replace a downed power line.
According to county EMA director, a number of shelters and warming stations are available in the county to those in need.
“Warming stations are located at the Glenwood and Milroy fire stations as well as the Rush County Courthouse. If needed CERT members will be called to man the courthouse warming station. Emergency shelters are located at RushShelby Energy on SR 44, Mays Elementary School, and for those without heat or power in the Carthage area, the Knightstown Town Hall is also available,” Kemker said.