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Milwaukee residents continue to dig out, prepare for bitter cold

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jan 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-28 19:19:33-05

MILWAUKEE -- People across Milwaukee spent hours digging out from the snow on Monday, with bitterly-cold temperatures on the horizon.

Whether it was with shovels, snow throwers, or something more heavy duty - like a Bobcat - the TODAY’S TMJ4 team spotted neighbors working to clean driveways and sidewalks throughout the afternoon.

Plows from Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works could be seen pushing snow off of major thoroughfares like Appleton Avenue and Ogden Avenue.

Tammy Bates, who was shoveling the driveway in front of her Northside home, said the snow was difficult to move.

“It’s heavy and it’s horrible,” Bates said. “I’ve had too much of it already.”

“I wish I was in Texas or Florida - somewhere where the weather is nice,” she added with a laugh.

Nearby, Billie Burton-Triplett was cleaning a sidewalk with a snow thrower.

She said she wanted to get all of her snow removal done before temperatures dip below zero later this week.

“Frosted over snow is just no fun,” she said.

Burton-Triplett said she hadn’t put too much thought into dealing with the bitter cold, because she prefers to focus on one, weather-related obstacle at a time.

“Let’s get the snow done, and then we’ll deal with the ice and whatever’s coming later,” she said.

Dr. Beth Griffin, an emergency medicine physician at Ascension, said the very-cold temperatures on tap put people with lung conditions like asthma and emphysema at risk.

"Breathing in that cold air can really cause a lot of problems with their breathing," Griffin said.

She said people with such health conditions should wear a mask to keep the air they're breathing in warmer.

And she said everyone - even the very healthy - should layer up and minimize time outdoors.

Griffin said exposed skin can develop frostbite in as little as 10 minutes.

If that happens to you, Griffin said, "you'll want to remove any cold covering, wet covering, that was on from being outside and then obviously slowly rewarm those fingers.

The doctor said it's best to use lukewarm water, not hot water, to warm up.

When dressing for the elements, she noted looser clothing can often be more effective at keeping you insulated.

"Those loose layers can allow some air trapping in there, to keep you a little warmer," Griffin said.