KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s cold now in Kansas City, but it’s about to get a lot colder.

That’s why the Kansas City area has now been upgraded to a Wind Chill Warning for later this week with subzero wind chill temperatures forecasted.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Warning for the entire Kansas City area. For most counties the warning runs from midnight Thursday through noon Saturday.

A strong cold front will move through Wednesday night, sending temperatures plummeting. Thursday will see its high temperature around midnight and then fall throughout the rest of the day, according to the NWS.

Forecasters expect temperatures will be in the single digits Thursday and Friday — and they won’t make it past that until Christmas Day.

But the cold isn’t the only problem. Strong winds will also lead to incredibly cold wind chills.

Meteorologists expects wind gusts up to 50 mph possible, particularly Thursday and Friday.

The strong winds and cold temperatures will create wind chill temperatures of 30-40 below zero. In all, temperatures could feel like they are below zero for about 72 hours.

Winter Storm Watch

The Kansas City area is also still under a Winter Storm Watch, but FOX4’s Weather Team said it could be upgraded.

The watch, issued Monday, will be is in effect from Thursday morning to Friday evening for majority of the Kansas City region.

Meteorologists say heavy snow is possible this week, just before the Christmas holiday. The NWS is now predicting 2-4 inches of snow for most, and FOX4’s Weather Team is forecasting 1-4 inches at this time.

Strong winds and accumulating snow will create near-whiteout and blizzard conditions for Midwest, including Kansas City area.

Travel will be very difficult from Wednesday night into the holiday weekend, and experts are urging people to leave for holiday trips before the storm hits if possible.

Cold weather injuries

Experts stress that frostbite can occur within minutes to any exposed skin if you’re outside during temperatures like this. If you have to be outside for any length of time, take extreme caution by dressing in multiple layers and covering all exposed skin.

Watch for signs of frostbite if you’re outdoors, including:

  • At first, cold skin and a prickling feeling
  • Numbness
  • Skin that looks red, white, bluish-white, grayish-yellow, purplish, brown or ashen, depending on the severity of the condition and usual skin color
  • Hard or waxy-looking skin
  • Clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness
  • Blistering after rewarming, in severe cases

“The initial thing that you’ll see again is usually increased redness as your body dilates a little bit to get more blood flow there,” Dr. Todd Shaffer from the University Health Lakewood Medical Center told FOX4 Tuesday.

“Then as it starts to shut down, it will literally shut off the blood vessels to those areas, and then that’s why it becomes as white as almost my coat basically. When that occurs, you’re basically almost killing tissue at that point because there’s no blood supply to it.”

Shaffer advises as many people as possible stay inside.

“Prevention is the best thing though. Think ahead of time. Try to get stuff done today if you can before the storm really rolls in would be the other advice I would give. Period.”

Shaffer recommends people wear three layers of clothing. He also said you should have as much of your head covered as you can.

“If you can get a stocking cap on, some kind of hood over the top of that, a scarf around the neck, something across the face as well too, whether you’ve got the ability to have a facemask or things like that that go up against the face as much as possible, but literally as least amount of skin should be showing as possible with the wind that’s coming in with the wind chills,” he added.

Prolonged exposure to these cold temperatures could lower your body temperature to unsafe levels and increase your risk for hypothermia. Watch for signs of hypothermia including:

  • Shivering
  • Exhaustion or feeling very tired
  • Confusion
  • Fumbling hands
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness

FOX4 will continue to monitor this storm, both on air and online.

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