Dangerous wind chills in forecast

Cold temperatures that could break records are in the forecast for the next few days. It is to be the coldest air to impact the region in 20 years, according to National Weather Service.

Tiffin is under a winter storm warning from 4 a.m. today to 4 a.m. Monday. It is under a wind chill warning from 4 a.m. Monday to 9 a.m. Wednesday.

According to the weather service, Seneca County could get 4-6 inches of snow today. It is to begin near sunrise with the heaviest expected to fall between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The county could get 1-3 inches tonight. Northwest winds were expected to increase after 8 p.m.

There is to be considerable blowing and drifting and temperatures are to fall rapidly, according to the weather service.

According to the weather service, dangerously cold temperatures are expected today through Wednesday. Wind chill values are to range from -20 degrees to -40 degrees. The coldest air is to move in overnight Monday, and wind gusts of 30 mph or more are likely at midnight Monday.

It is an unusual situation when strong winds accompany the cold, according to the weather service.

About a dozen local officials gathered at Seneca County’s emergency operations center for a hazardous weather briefing through National Weather Service Saturday afternoon.

Dean Henry, Seneca County’s public information officer, was among the officials who attended the briefing. He said small children and people with health conditions should not be out when the wind chill dips. When a vehicle slips off the road, a person normally would get out and walk somewhere to get help. Such actions would be dangerous in the cold temperatures, Henry said.

Exposed skin could show signs of frostbite within minutes, and people dehydrate faster in cold weather.

“Check on your neighbors,” Henry said.

One concern raised during Saturday’s briefing involved the issue of children going to school in cold temperatures. Some area schools are in session Monday, while some are not.

Heidelberg University is delaying the start of main campus classes due to expected severe weather. The first day of classes now is to be Friday, and student move-in, faculty development and orientation now are Thursday, according to the school’s website.

Scott Daniel, director of operations for Tiffin City Schools, attended the briefing and said the district has a teacher work day Monday. Officials are to be watching the situation for Tuesday, and they try to use common sense to keep children’s safety foremost in their minds, he said.

He said he was aware of one instance when Tiffin City Schools closed due to cold temperatures.

Issues can arise when parents are at work and children are home from school.

Henry said parents need to have a contingency plan for their children. Children, he said, cannot be playing outside.

Children also may be tempted to play on ice.

Chief Bill Ennis of Tiffin Fire Rescue Division said a body of water will freeze in the upcoming low temperatures, but it will occur suddenly and will not be a long, slow freeze. A sudden freeze means there are to be many weak areas, and there won’t be uniform depth across the body of water.

“Kids should stay completely off the ice,” he said.

The Sandusky River was only partially frozen Saturday, and Ennis said he could see where the current was flowing.

“It’ll all be frozen over,” he said.

Ennis said if a person goes through the ice, another person follows him or her. He advises people not to go out on the ice to make a rescue. Instead, they should call 911 and direct rescue crews to the spot where the person last was seen.

Ennis said the best thing is to stay off the ice.

“Don’t go anywhere near it,” he said.