Man Killed by Exposure While Sleepwalking
HAYWARD, Wis. (AP) -- Severe cold blamed for a death in northern Wisconsin is only expected to get more frigid, producing wind chills down to 40 or 50 below zero in the far north, before a warmup starts this weekend.
It won't be a great deal better in southern Wisconsin. The National Weather Service said the daytime high in Milwaukee on Thursday could be minus 1 with wind chills between minus 20 and minus 30.
Flesh can freeze in 10 minutes when the wind chill is 40 below or colder, the weather service noted.
The cold claimed a victim in Sawyer County, where a 51-year-old sleepwalker died from exposure after wandering from his rural Hayward home early Tuesday.
Chief Deputy Tim Zeigle of the Sawyer County Sheriff's Department said the man was found about 190 yards from his house. His son, who reported him missing late Tuesday morning, said the man was prone to sleepwalking.
Deputies followed tracks of his bare feet in the snow to find him.
"He had been in bed and walked outside. He had on very few clothes," said Zeigle, who declined to release the man's name until relatives had been notified.
The temperature in Hayward plunged to 16 below zero Tuesday morning, the weather service said.
Dave Anderson, 66, who lives outside the city, said his thermometer dipped to minus 22.
"It's winter. What the heck? There's not much you can do about it," he said.
To the south, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation announced it is making grants totaling $180,000 to 13 homeless shelters, just as their resources have been stretched to the breaking point by the economy and a severe winter.
Cindy Krahenbuhl, executive director of Guest House of Milwaukee, said the timing was perfect because the money will help meet people's needs for shelter, clothing and food during the bitter stretch of weather.
The falling temperatures have kept towing and auto repair companies across the state busy, as well as public works crews dealing with frozen pipes and water mains.
"We're working basically 24 hours a day with broken mains," said Dave Goldapp with Milwaukee Public Works, adding that more breaks could be expected as temperatures get colder.
Even before the current cold snap, doctors at Mercy Hospital in Janesville had treated two cases of frostbite. Both involved people making bad decisions, Dr. Joseph Mazzei said.
"One was associated with alcohol use. The other was a person making a poor decision to take a very long, unnecessary walk in cold weather, not prepared and without proper clothing," Mazzei said. "So check weather conditions, limit time outside and make sure that if your clothes become wet to change into dry and get out of the cold."
Severe frostbite won't heal and may require amputation, the doctor said.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)