Central Illinois braces for cold snap

By WEEK Producer

January 2, 2014 Updated Jan 2, 2014 at 9:03 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Jeff Albright was busy shoveling snow on Thursday. He knows what's coming and he plans to be ready for it.

"The cars are in the garage and hopefully that will keep them warm enough but I'm trying to do this strenuous activity during the warmer time," Albright said.

That's a smart move because it's about to turn bitterly cold.

"We're definitely going to be within record territory," explained WEEK Meteorologist Sandy Gallant. "The secondary shot of arctic air, which arrives early next week, is going to be dangerously cold. We're going to be looking at wind chill readings dropping possibly as low as 30 degrees below zero on Tuesday morning."

That approaching arctic blast has already caused an increase in traffic at Nena Do it Best Hardware in Peoria, where they expect to sell several tons of salt this week.

Some customers are even buying heat kits to make sure their pipes won't freeze.

"If they can get to their pipes they can use the heat tape on their pipes that plug in," explained store manager Keith Riecker. "Otherwise they should make sure to have the water dripping so that it keeps running.

It is even more important to make sure you stay warm. The director of emergency services at OSF St. Francis Medical Center says the Emergency Room is bracing for a spike in cases of hypothermia and frostbite.

"Last year we saw about 30 cases between hypothermia and frostbite," said Dr. Yeh. "This year already we've seen ten cases of hypothermia and frostbite."

Dr. Yeh recommends what he refers to as "gentle re-warming" for cases of hypothermia and using warm water, not hot water, on cold extremities.