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Minus 30 wind chills expected for Jamestown area

The Jamestown area should expect wind chills around minus 30 almost every morning this week, said Brandon Gale, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

Dogs wind chills.jpg
Sandie and Gary Sahr's dogs seek shelter indoors Tuesday, Dec. 28, after going outdoors for a brief moment. Gary Sahr said he only leaves his pets outside for five minutes at the most with the lower temperatures in the winter. Masaki Ova / The Jamestown Sun

North Dakotans should expect dangerous wind chills after a storm system dropped 18 inches of snow in the Jamestown area.

The National Weather Service in Bismarck issued a wind chill advisory Tuesday morning warning for wind chills as low as 35 below until Tuesday evening for all of southwest through south-central North Dakota and through the James River Valley. The high temperature for Tuesday was expected to be minus 3 with wind chill values as low as minus 40.

The wind chill advisory said “the dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.”

Pets, livestock and other outdoor animals could be affected by the wind chills as well.

“Definitely all animals no matter what they are need shelter this time of year,” said Dawn Entzminger, a veterinarian with Dr. Dawn’s Pet Stop.

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The Jamestown area should expect wind chills around minus 30 almost every morning this week, said Brandon Gale, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.

“I think right now we are expecting the coldest night to be New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day,” he said. “Our current forecast has a minimum wind chill of negative 43 for Jamestown the morning of New Year’s Day.”

On New Year’s Day wind chill values will increase to about minus 25 during the afternoon, he said.

“Throughout the entire day you can expect it to be negative 25 or colder,” he said.

Tips for pet owners

Entzminger said pet owners should try to keep their pets outside the shortest time possible because they are not accustomed to the lower temperatures that are coming. She said the lower wind chills can affect an animal really fast but it also depends on a pet’s hair coat, health and if it is accustomed to the lower temperatures.

“It doesn’t mean that they (pets with longer hair) can’t get frostbite or succumb to the cold, but they are a little more prepared for the cold than a short-haired dog,” she said.

She said younger and really old animals do not regulate their body temperatures as well so they are more prone to hypothermia.

When pet owners bring their pets inside, they should check the animal’s feet for snowballs. She said animals with longer hair can get snowballs in their paws.

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“Even once they come in it takes awhile for them to thaw out so they can get a little frostbite in between their toes so you want to check for that,” she said. “The shorter the dog, the more likely they are to develop the snowballs on the underside as well.”

If ice melt is used, pet owners need to wipe that off as soon as possible because it can cause a chemical burn if pet-friendly ice melt is not used, she said

Outdoor animals such as barn cats will need a lot of straw to snuggle into to stay warm. She said a shelter can be made out of square straw bales so the animals can get inside and be insulated.

Owners of outdoor cats should knock on the hood of their vehicle or honk the horn before starting them because the cats like to climb up near the warm engine, she said.

“Even just getting out of the wind, it’s a good spot for them to hang out but not when you are starting it,” she said. “They are small enough and they can sneak right up into the hoods.”

Entzminger also said outdoor animals such as livestock and outdoor pets need more calories to regulate their body temperatures in the winter.

“So you need to take that into consideration when feeding them,” she said. “It takes more to keep them warm so they need more calories going in.”

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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