WNYers Battle the Cold

January 22, 2013 Updated Jan 22, 2013 at 7:59 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

...
January 22, 2013 Updated Jan 22, 2013 at 7:59 PM EDT


Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Wicked wind chills are serving as a bitter reminder to take extra precautions -- whether it is as simple as adding extra layers of clothes or making sure your car is in tip-top shape.

With temperatures in the single digits, and wind chills below zero, there is no escaping this arctic air.

The only saving grace -- bundling up.

Victoria Wheaton says she's wearing "A coat, a long john shirt, a regular shirt, this thing and a couple hates and two pairs of gloves."

While many stay indoors, some are forced to keep working in the bitter cold or venture outside.

Matt Gramza says his "ears are freezing."

However, the cold doesn't just affect people. Not even a fur coat protects our four legged friends.

Road salt can damage paws. Gina Browning, with the SPCA Serving Erie County, says "It can become encrusted right in the pads of the paws, and sometimes it will become embedded and cause an infection."

Temperatures like this can hurt animals senses. The SPCA urges everyone not to leave pets outdoors for an extended period of time. Browning explains animals that stay outside need a suitable shelter.

Browning says "It is different for every animal. According to New York State law, the shelter has to be appropriate for the breed of the animal. What's right for a husky might not be right for a poodle."

However, there is a plus side to these bitter cold temperatures. Ice is starting to form at the Erie Basin Marina. That means pond hockey is more of a possibility this year.

Last year, pond hockey had to move to the street because of mild temperatures. Even though last weeks temperatures were in the 50's, this cold snap has the marina starting to freeze over.

However, organizers say they still have a lot of reviewing to do before decided if this year's tournament will be on ice or cement.

Steven Stepniak, the Commissioner of Public Works for the City of Buffalo, explains they need "Ten inches to a foot is required for us to get the equipment and stuff that we need on that ice. So we're going to keep monitoring."

A Code Blue is still in effect for Buffalo. The City Mission at St. Luke's Mission on Walden Avenue are opening their doors from eight in the evening through eight in the morning to help the homeless and needy stay warm overnight.

Code Blue is expected to remain in effect through the end of the week.