National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Welcome to the Michigan
Winter Hazards Awareness Week webpage


Winter Hazards Awareness Week
Monday, November 5th

  Day 2 - Cold Weather and Hypothermia


The hazards of winter include the snow, ice, and sleet that can cause damage to our homes and lead to accidents on our highways. They also include the bitterly cold air and winds that threaten frostbite and hypothermia for anyone caught without shelter. The cold in Michigan can be deadly!

Michigan residents are always susceptible to the cold weather common every winter. The temperatures do not have to plummet below zero to create a life-threatening situation. According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, 35 people in Michigan died due the exposure to the cold in 2015. This makes cold weather the number one weather-related killer in Michigan.

It is especially important to remember to avoid exposure to cold, wet weather for lengthy periods of time. As colder air invades the state later in the season, the dangers will increase. Always dress for conditions and do not stray too far from shelter for any extended period of time.

Look for the warning signs of hypothermia such as uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If medical care is not available, begin warming the person slowly, warming the body core first. Get the person into dry clothing, and wrap him or her in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Do not warm the extremities first. This drives the cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure.

For more information on cold weather safety, please visit the Michigan Winter Emergency Preparedness Page