Cold adds danger on New Year's Eve - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Cold adds danger on New Year's Eve

WAUSAU (WAOW) - New Year's Eve celebrations come on a bitterly cold night in Central Wisconsin. State Patrol officials say the weather adds an extra element of danger on this popular party night.

Wisconsin State Patrol officials say they'll be out in full force on New Year's Eve.

"We do have a lot more people out on patrol tonight so we will be out looking for drunk drivers and broke down motorists due to the cold weather," said Sgt. Carrie Johnson.

It's that frigid weather that has officials concerned on the final night of 2013.

"It's not uncommon, when it's this cold, that somebody will freeze to death," said Johnson.

A family practice physician at Marshfield Clinic says mixing cold with alcohol is especially dangerous.

"It's harder to sense that you're in trouble," said Dr. Katherine Patterson.

She says even though you might feel warm, you lose body heat more quickly after you've been drinking.

"The blood vessels on the surface of your skin dilate when you drink so you're more likely to have problems with exposure after alcohol consumption," said Patterson.

But even sober, temperatures this cold call for extra caution.

"With this kind of really cold weather, you add the extra problem of people driving and if they get caught in a snowbank or if their car fails on them and they have to walk, they're dressed for parties and not for weather." said Patterson.

Officials say plan ahead before you head out to New Year's Eve parties.

"Make sure you've got a blanket, warm clothing, some matches, water, some chocolate, a phone," said Johnson. "Just to be safe."

State Patrol Officials recommend using the Safe Ride Home program if you need a sober driver. You can ask bartenders for a voucher at participating locations.

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