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Bitter wind chills approaching; make plans for safe drive home on New Year’s Eve

January 1, 2019

Temperatures were dropping and winds were picking up Monday evening, a foretaste of the bitterly cold weather expected overnight — and a reminder to revelers to make plans if they’ll be over-imbibing on New Year’s Eve.

The temperature in Omaha about 5:30 p.m. Monday was in the low 20s and the wind chill was in the single digits due to winds gusting to nearly 45 mph. Both were forecast to continue dropping until daybreak Tuesday.

By midnight New Year’s Eve, wind chills are forecast to be below zero in Omaha, with the mercury registering a little above 10 degrees. Northwest winds of 20 to 35 mph are forecast for most of the night.

With an Arctic front settled over the region, Tuesday will be cold too. The temperature in Omaha on Tuesday is expected to peak around 12 degrees. Though winds will die down noticeably by daybreak Tuesday, the wind chill isn‘t forecast to climb much above zero.

“New Year’s Day is not going to be the day to take down your Christmas lights,” said Scott Dergan, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Valley.

Here are some safety tips and alternatives for a safe ride home:

Out in the cold

• To prevent hypothermia, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following recommendations: Get people into a warm room or shelter as soon as they start displaying warning signs. Those signs include adults who are shivering, exhausted or confused and infants with bright red, cold skin and very low energy. Dress in warm layers of clothing and eat carbohydrates. Drink warm nonalcoholic beverages and keep your body moving. Remember that alcohol causes the body to lose heat. Get medical attention as soon as possible, if necessary.

Safe Ride Home

• The Omaha law firm of Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop is offering free taxi rides for those who imbibe too much. The rides are available New Year’s Eve from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Cab rides to a person’s home or hotel can start and end only within Douglas and Sarpy Counties. Call 402-215-0167 and be sure to say you are using the “Hauptman O’Brien Safe Ride Home” or the ride won’t be free.

Tow-to-Go

• AAA members and nonmembers in Nebraska and Iowa can get a ride home for themselves and their vehicle when they’ve had too much to drink. The offer is only available within a 10-mile radius from where people are picked up. If outside the restriction area, motorists can arrange to pay for the additional mileage or have their vehicle towed to a safe location. For assistance, call 855-2-TOW-2-GO or 855-286-9246.

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