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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City area is now under a Winter Storm Warning for Thursday with blowing snow and dangerous wind chills ahead.

The National Weather Service issued the Winter Storm Warning for the Kansas City region. The warning starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday and expires at midnight Friday.

Meteorologists believe snow will start falling and accumulating late Wednesday or early Thursday in the Kansas City region and wrap up Thursday evening.

At this time, FOX4’s Weather Team is forecasting 1-3 inches of snowfall; the NWS is forecasting 2-4 inches.

But strong winds will cause a lot of that snow to blow all over the place — even after it stops falling. That will make it nearly impossible to measure and possibly create large drifts.

The NWS warns the Kansas City area also could see blizzard conditions, but a Blizzard Warning has not been issued as of Wednesday afternoon.

Experts are recommending people do not travel on Thursday unless they absolutely have to.

Wind Chill Warning

The Kansas City area is also under a Wind Chill Warning as dangerous wind chill temperatures move in this week.

For most counties in the area, this warning runs from 6 a.m. Thursday until noon Saturday. In some counties north of Kansas City, the wind chill warning starts at midnight Thursday.

After midnight Thursday, temperatures will start falling rapidly.

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.

FOX4 meteorologists expect 45 mph wind gusts possible, particularly Thursday and Friday.

The strong winds and cold temperatures will create wind chill temperatures of 30-40 below zero, which could be life threatening for anyone outside too long.

FOX4’s Weather Team says the wind chill temperature will drop below zero before 8 a.m. Thursday and stay there until Christmas morning.

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

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