Get ready to bundle up and pile up extra blankets.
Dangerously cold temperatures, which have not existed this winter, are on the way, warns the National Weather Service. Overnight lows will drop below zero on Monday and Tuesday, and daytime temperatures on Tuesday will mostly be in the single digits.
For Portland, temperatures will be in the 20s during the day on Monday, but will drop to -1 at night, said Sarah Thunberg of NWS Gray’s office. The high of 8 degrees with a low of -3 is expected on Tuesday.
Conditions will improve on Wednesday when temperatures drop back to a seasonal 25 degrees. The reason for the cold “is a really, really cold mass of air that comes from the Arctic,” said Thunberg.
Monday and Tuesday nights will be the coldest we’ve had this winter and could be a shock so far due to the mild weather this season so far, she said.
While Portland will be cold on Monday and Tuesday, northern Maine like Caribou will get worse.
Further north, NWS meteorologist Angela LaFlash said that Caribou’s expected temperatures will fluctuate between 5 and 10 degrees on Monday and drop to -15 degrees on Monday night. “Tuesday during the day we’re looking down at 5 for the high,” she said.
Then it gets worse. “On Tuesday night it will be between 20 and 30 degrees below zero,” she said, much colder than normal. The average temperature in Caribou this time of year is between 5 and 22 degrees, LaFlash said.
During the cold snap, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people avoid frostbite and hypothermia, which can happen quickly outdoors, by wearing clothing, mittens, scarves, hats, and appropriate footwear to reduce skin exposure, even when they are just scarce outside. Fingers, toes, ears and nose tips are particularly at risk.
Dog owners should be careful about how much time they leave their pets outdoors, experts say.
Dr. Amy Hess of the PetMedic Urgent Care Vet Clinic in Portland recommends avoiding dog walks in extreme cold.
“Just take her on a leash for a quick potty outside,” she said on Sunday. “If you have a fenced yard, take them outside.” That way, there’s no chance of forgetting the dog is outside or staying outside too long, she said. When dogs hold up their paws or shiver, they are too cold.
“If you have short hair, make sure you wear a jacket,” said Hess. “We also see a lot of injuries on ice, dogs slipping or breaking toenails.”
Limiting how long dogs are outside will minimize injuries, she said. “If it’s too cold for us, it’s too cold for them.”
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