BALTIMORE -- A Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert has been issued for Baltimore City with wind chill temperatures forecast to fall into the teens by Wednesday morning.
The Code Blue will take effect on Wednesday morning.
"With dangerously cold temperatures expected in Baltimore early tomorrow, I am issuing a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration for Wednesday morning. I encourage residents to stay indoors, especially those most vulnerable to cold," said Acting Baltimore City Health Commissioner Mary Beth Haller. "Extreme low temperatures can be life-threatening, especially for our most vulnerable populations. Please be safe during the morning commute, check on neighbors who you think may be at risk to ensure that they have heat and power, and take care to shelter pets appropriately."
The Health Commissioner may declare a Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert when temperatures, including wind chill, are expected to be 13 degrees or below or when other conditions are severe enough to present a substantial threat to the life or health of vulnerable Baltimore residents.
The Baltimore City Health Department said that during the 2022–2023 Code Blue Extreme Cold season, the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reported 19 cold-related deaths.
Code Blue Extreme Cold indicates an increased risk of cold injuries or even death for those exposed to low temperatures.
Once a Code Blue Extreme Cold declaration is made, public messaging activities are undertaken to encourage safety when outdoors and response partners work to ensure those in need find shelter.
The cold blast came as a surprise to some people.
"We were in New York for the holidays for Thanksgiving, so I thought coming home would be a little warmer here, but it's definitely cold," Andres Perez of Baltimore said.
Many folks are already preparing to bundle up, but experts caution that it's necessary to take other steps to protect one's health—like drinking water and staying hydrated.
"I bought a long coat, but I don't think it's enough and I bought boots, but I don't think they're enough either," Jaclyn Valdez of Houston said. "I was not prepared."
The Code Blue Extreme Cold season runs from the middle of November to March. During this time, there will be emergency shelters and warming centers made available for Baltimore's most vulnerable citizens.
During the Code Blue Extreme Cold season, Baltimore City agencies work together to:
- Distribute meals to at-risk senior citizens
- Provide home weatherization services
- Help individuals apply for energy assistance
- Provide additional cold weather education and outreach efforts
Throughout the Code Blue Extreme Cold season, the Mayor's Office of Homeless Services offers emergency shelter to individual adults, couples and families as part of the City's Winter Shelter Plan.
Shelter seekers should contact the Baltimore City Shelter Hotline at 443-984-9540.
Cold Weather Tips for Staying Healthy:
- Wear multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing.
- Always wear a head covering, like a hat and/or scarf, when outdoors.
- Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcoholic beverages.
- Protect yourself against falls in icy or snowy conditions by walking slowly and avoiding steps or curbs with ice on them.
- Check on those who are most vulnerable including children, the elderly and/or chronically ill.
- Provide appropriate shelter for domestic animals.
Other Tips for Keeping Safe in Cold Weather:
- Keep space heaters and candles away from flammable materials, such as curtains, furniture and loose clothing.
- Check your carbon monoxide detector and make sure it's working.
- Do not use prohibited heat or power sources inside your home, such as stoves or generators. They may cause fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Do not leave your car running in a closed space such as a garage.
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