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BENNINGTON — Weather officials are forecasting an arctic snap will hit Vermont from Friday morning through Saturday evening, with wind chill temperatures expected to plunge as low as 45 degrees below zero.

With a wind chill warning issued for the entire state and most of Northern New England by the National Weather Service, local and state officials on Wednesday were advising residents to prepare for the bitter cold.

Wind gusts on Friday were forecast to hit 32 mph.

The NWS warned that “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.”

“Extreme cold weather is nothing new for most Vermonters, but it’s important to know the resources available to be prepared if needed,” Gov. Phil Scott said in a release. “Several Vermont agencies and departments continue to work to ensure support is available for those in need, so please do not hesitate to reach out.”

The Vermont Agency of Human Services, community organizations and municipalities are working to expand daytime and overnight shelter options for people experiencing homelessness during the coldest hours this weekend, the governor’s office said. Vermonters in need of heating assistance or shelter can call 2-1-1.

“We asked that people remember to dress in layers if they need to go out, that they please check on their neighbors and practice safe practices with the use of portable heaters,” said Brattleboro Town Manager John Potter at the Select Board meeting Tuesday.

In Bennington, people are preparing for the cold snap, according to Chantel Moore, assistant manager at Bennington’s Tractor Supply. She said customers have already started coming in for space heaters and wood pellets for their stoves.

“We have been really busy with the cold,” she said. And given the forecast, she predicted, they will really “start coming in tomorrow.”

“People are usually last minute,” she said. “(But) we’ve been selling pellets left and right. I sold 10 tons of pellets yesterday.”

Pet owners are also warned to take special care of their animals during this cold snap. Dogs should be kept inside and “don’t leave your pet in the car while you run errands — the car temperature drops quickly and your pet could suffer hypothermia,” according to Second Chance Animal Center in Arlington. Consider putting your dog in a sweater for outdoor walks, and treating the animal’s paws with petroleum jelly to protect them from chemicals and cracks in paw pads, the nonprofit said.

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Vermont Emergency Management issued a weather warning and advice heading into the cold snap. Officials advised people in need of warming shelters to call their town offices or call 2-1-1 for assistance. In addition:

• Check with elderly or disabled relatives and friends to ensure their safety.

• Minimize outside activities, particularly the elderly and very young. Also, consider your pets and limit their time outdoors.

• Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel. Use only safe heating sources like a fireplace, wood stove or space heater; and take the necessary safety precautions. Test smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors and ensure heat sources are venting properly.

• Throw a couple of blankets in your car in the event you are stranded by a breakdown or minor accident and must wait for help. Ensure your vehicle has sufficient fuel and other fluids, good tire pressure, and that the battery is in good condition.

• Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

• If symptoms of frostbite are detected, seek medical help immediately. Slowly warm the affected areas as you await medical assistance. Symptoms can include redness or pain in the affected skin area, a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness.

Emergency Management said if you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets. And eat because food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.

For weather, road, or emergency updates sent directly to e-mail or cell phones, sign up for Vermont Alert at

Forecast information: or

Vermont Department of Health Winter Weather Safety (includes translated materials):


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