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New Mexicans are urged to avoid unnecessary travel, prepare their homes, and use caution throughout the coming days of sustained cold temperatures. Large portions of New Mexico can expect extremely cold temperatures, icy conditions, and snow. Cold temperatures are expected to last through Tuesday.
Snow is forecast for most parts of New Mexico except the extreme southern part of the state. The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) is urging New Mexicans to inform themselves of the weather situation and provide for emergencies.
“The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is taking the preparatory steps to respond to any emergencies that may result from the cold weather, but it is important that individuals take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their families, and homes,” Secretary Michael Duvall said. “We will continue to work with local governments, our private partners and other state agencies to coordinate for the safety of New Mexicans.”
DHSEM is in close contact with other state agencies and private sector partners such as the New Mexico Gas Company and PNM.
New Mexicans can take important steps to take precautions. Avoid travel unless absolutely necessary. If travel is necessary, monitor weather and road conditions, make sure vehicle fuel tanks are full, charge mobile phones, pack blankets and warm clothing, and include extra food and water.
To ensure the safety of themselves and their families, residents are asked to stay indoors and take necessary steps to ensure warmth, water, and food during extended cold conditions. Insulate pipes, have a first aid kit and flashlight in an easily accessible location, bring pets indoors, and store alternate sources of fuel, such as dry, seasoned firewood.
Avoid outdoor activity unless absolutely necessary. If you must go outdoors, avoid overexertion. Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extremely cold air. Keep dry by changing wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
No one feels the chill more than animals who are left outside. Dogs in particular are social creatures who enjoy companionship with their human pack. Citizens should assure animals are warm this season by keeping them indoors as much as possible. With temperatures dropping to the teens or lower, coupled with wind chill factors, animals left outside without adequate shelter and insulation may die.
If you are cold, your companion animal is cold. Most domestic animals are not well equipped for cold weather and can easily be susceptible to frost bite and hypothermia.
Be on the lookout for signs of hypothermia in animals, which include uncontrollable shivering followed by abrupt stillness, decreased heart beat and weak pulse, stiff muscles, lack of coordination and pale or blue gums. Seek the aid of a verterinarian immediately upon the onset of symptoms.
Report suspected animal cruelty or unattended animals to your local animal control division.