National Weather Service
National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

cold weather navigation bar, hover for links

extreme cold weather safety extreme cold and crop watch vs. warning before extreme cold during extreme cold After extreme cold

ice covered trees and icy, snowy road

weather-ready nation link

cold weather navigation bar, hover for links windchill information, chart, calculator, faqs storm prediction center current watches, warnings and advisories for cold, snow, winter and other major storms polar vortex info link current watches, warnings and advisories for cold, snow, winter and all weather weather weather safety education and outreach Links to more information, partner agencies

Share your StoryCold Weather Safety

Extremely cold air comes every winter in at least part of the country and affects millions of people across the United States. The arctic air, together with brisk winds, can lead to dangerously cold wind chill values. People exposed to extreme cold are susceptible to frostbite in a matter of minutes. Areas most prone to frostbite are uncovered skin and the extremities, such as hands and feet. Hypothermia is another threat during extreme cold. Hypothermia occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce.

Cold weather also affects crops. In late spring or early fall, early arrival of cold air can damage or kill produce for farmers, as well as plants and flowers at your home or business. A freeze occurs when the temperature drops below 32°F. Freezes and their effects are significant during the growing season. Frost develops on clear, calm nights and can occur when the air temperature is in the mid-30s. Each plant species has a different tolerance to cold temperatures. You may also want to check out our winter safety site for snow and more cold season hazards information.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of extreme cold, please share your story so we can prevent others from being a victim. When you write, please note the NWS has permission to use your story and let us know the town and state you were in and when the event took place.