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Here Are Some Things to Remember As Chicago Temps Drop Dangerously Low

Chicago temperatures are dropping this weekend and will last for the next week or so. This could be dangerous if you're not careful. NBC Chicago has some things to keep in mind:

What Should I Do If I Have to Travel in the Cold?
If travel is necessary in the subzero temperatures this weekend, officials warned of scattered slick spots likely forming on ramps, overpasses, bridges and shaded areas overnight.

“The team at IDOT will be monitoring the roads, treating them as necessary, and assisting motorists as needed,” Acting Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said. “Please make sure to have the necessary supplies and equipment in your vehicle should you encounter problems, and do not leave your vehicle in the event of a breakdown. Call for help and wait for assistance to arrive.”

Drivers should share the roadways, officials advised, as Illinois law requires drivers to change lanes when approaching police, first responders and broken-down vehicles.

In addition, a release said drivers should slow down when approaching snow plows and maintenance vehicles, giving workers more room to operate.

All vehicles should have an emergency kit equipped with blankets, non-perishable food, boots, extra clothing and other items in case an individual is stranded, Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said.

For up to date road conditions, click here.

How Should I Avoid Frostbite?
Frostbite could set in on exposed skin in as little as 15 minutes, officials said. The face, ears, hands and feet tend to be the most commonly impacted.

According to a release, frostbite skin is whitish and stiff, and tends to feel numb rather than painful.

In order to treat frostbite, officials advised to warm the affected part of the body gradually before seeking medical attention.

"Wrap the frostbitten area in blankets, sweaters, coats, etc. and seek medical attention immediately," a release said.

Officials warned to not rub frostbitten areas of the skin because the friction can damage the tissue.

What If I Am Alone?
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker asked residents to check on elderly neighbors in the coming days who might be in need of assistance.

According to data from the state, 46% of individuals rely on people in their neighborhood for assistance within the first 72 hours of an emergency.

State officials advised people to check in with neighbors over the weekend either asking for or offering help.

“There are dangerous health conditions that can occur specifically in severe winter weather,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “It’s important to watch for signs of extreme cold. Knowing the warning signs of dangerously cold weather and the health conditions they can cause can help you stay safe and healthy.”

The artic cold temperatures hitting the Chicago area aren't going to let up anytime soon, and could become the longest stretch of such February temperatures the city has ever seen.

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