Cold spell rolls into Palo Alto for Thanksgiving

Health officials urge caution as temperatures dip

Wet weather may have made a temporary exit from the forecast, but the Bay Area is expected to experience a cold spell that has prompted frost advisories and freeze watches over the next several days, according to the National Weather Service.

Today, the Bay Area is expected to be mostly sunny, with highs on the coast and inland in the lower 50s. North winds of 5 to 10 mph are also expected.

Mostly clear skies are predicted for tonight, and overnight lows are forecast to once again dip into the mid to upper 30s. Variable winds of 5 to 10 mph are expected, and a frost advisory will also be in effect from 1 a.m. until 9 a.m. Thursday.

Widespread frost is predicted for inland areas, including Santa Clara Valley, according to the weather service. On Thanksgiving Day, sunny skies are expected to dispatch any patchy morning frost, and coastal and inland areas are forecast to see highs in the mid 50s. Northeast winds of 5 to 10 mph are also anticipated.

As overnight lows plunge to near-freezing temperatures and daytime highs settle into the 50s next week, health officials and animal activists are reminding Bay Area residents to keep safe when keeping warm.

To avoid prolonged cold exposure, health officials recommend dressing in several layers of clothing and sleeping with extra blankets. Pets that normally dwell outside during mild weather also need extra protection from freezing temperatures, and health officials recommend bringing all pets inside or into a warm, heated garage during the upcoming cold spell.

Smaller dogs, cats, short-haired dogs, and all animals suited for warmer climes are especially vulnerable during cold spells, according to the local SPCA. Prolonged cold exposure can result in hypothermia or frostbite, and officials advise anyone experiencing either to seek immediate medical attention. In the case of animal exposure, the SPCA advises pets should be wrapped in warm, dry towels and blankets and transported to a veterinarian.

Possible signs of hypothermia include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion, and shivering, while frostbite is hallmarked by gray, white, or yellow skin discoloration; numbness; or waxy skin. Those who are at greatest risk to exposure, such as seniors, young children, and people with weakened immune systems, should be monitored during cold weather, officials said.

In the case of overexposure, wet clothing should be swapped out for a dry blanket and warm fluids should be consumed immediately, health officials said. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided after overexposure to freezing temperatures. Instead, officials suggest consuming warm fluids such as hot cider or soup.

Because water sources for animals can freeze overnight, they should be checked frequently to ensure that animals that must remain outside have continued access to water. During cold weather, pets should not be left alone in a car, which is efficient at "holding in the cold," the SPCA said in a statement.

More information is available at the local SPCA website at

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by spoiled
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 24, 2010 at 9:33 am

Palo Altans are so spoiled if they think upper 30s is cold. When I was growing up, cold meant that the high temperature for the day was 0F.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 24, 2010 at 11:31 am

It's not about being spoiled, it's what we are used to physically- milder temps. It's rarely this chilly in Nov. This change in weather affects us, our ets & our gardens, the latter which needs the kind of attention not needed the majority of the year. While much of the media make too much of abrupt weather changes, this article has good information. If we wanted to live in 0 degree temps, we'd move to wherever you're from.

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