Cold Weather Sends Chill Across Central Virginia

January 6, 2014

It would appear Monday evening's crippling cold would have provided favorable conditions for Sonam Tashi to do business. He sells scarves, hats and gloves on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.

But once the temperatures dipped, so did Tashi's sales.

"In the morning it was okay, but now nobody's coming. Nobody's buying anything," he said.

Few people were out downtown Monday night, and those who were were bundled up -- with good reason.

Dr. Russell Buss, an emergency physician at Martha Jefferson Hospital, says frostbite and hypothermia aren't the only threats in this kind of weather.

He says below-freezing temperatures can also bring out issues with existing medical conditions.

"Anyone who has an underling problem such as diabetes or heart problems, these can be made worse if you're out and get cold," said Dr. Buss. "So, if your temperature drops, it makes those diseases worse."

And while some people may think having a few alcoholic drinks will keep them warm, Dr. Buss says that's a myth.

He says you may feel like your body is warmer, but the alcohol actually makes the effects of the cold even worse.

Charlottesville resident Richard Zeller moved here from Minneapolis.

"I've seen it a lot worse," said Zeller.

Children and the elderly are more susceptible to the effects of the cold, but Zeller says there's another group people shouldn't neglect in the frigid weather.

"If people have animals, they should be careful with their animals on a night like this," said Zeller. "Make sure that they're in and that they have plenty of water."

The City of Charlottesville will have warming centers up and running Tuesday. All admission fees will be waived for the day at city recreation centers.

City manager Maurice Jones says Carver Recreation Center and Key Recreation Center have the most space to accommodate people.

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