As a cold surge sweeps over Taiwan, the season’s lowest temperature — 3.4°C — was recorded in Miaoli County at 6:23am yesterday, former Central Weather Bureau Weather Forecast Center director Daniel Wu (吳德榮) said.
Although the mercury started to rise yesterday morning, another cold surge is expected to engulf the nation today and tomorrow, when temperatures are forecast to fall to below 10°C in northern Taiwan, said Wu, now an adjunct associate professor of atmospheric sciences at National Central University.
The cold wave is also expected to bring moisture to the nation’s north, which could cause snowfall above 2,000m in the mountains in northern and northeastern Taiwan, starting later today, he added.
In related news, a Changhua doctor on Friday warned against unsafe heating practices that could lead to fires, carbon monoxide poisoning or low-temperature burns.
One of the most common unsafe heating practices in Taiwan is burning coal or candles indoors, which is a fire hazard and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, Changhua Christian Hospital critical care specialist Hsieh Pei-you (謝貝尤) said.
In addition, while ingesting alcohol makes people feel warm, it increases the risk of hypothermia by dilating the capillaries of the skin and diverting blood from the internal organs to the skin, she said.
As a result, inebriated people have a lower core body temperature and those who fall asleep outside in the cold often succumb to hypothermia, Hsieh said.
Electric heaters, blankets and hand warmers that come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin can cause low-temperature burns, especially in elderly people and infants, who might not be able to alert other people that they are hurting, she said.
People with diabetes are at risk of developing nerve damage, which reduces their sensitivity to high temperatures, and they might burn themselves with heaters or blankets without realizing, she said.
Stroke patients who cannot turn their bodies on their own frequently sustain low-temperature thermal damage from electric blankets, she added.
People should wrap heating packs in a layer of cloth before putting them in their pocket and should not place them under the blanket overnight, as these could also cause burns, she added.
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