UNION, NJ – Area residents can expect bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills through the week.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will average 15 to 20 degrees below normal.  There is the potential for a developing coastal storm on Saturday, although there is still uncertainty with the track of the storm.

An alert by the Union County Freeholders advised that when outdoors, be sure to wear dry, warm clothing and cover exposed skin. Check on your neighbors, friends, and relatives, especially the elderly and those with disabilities. People most likely to be exposed to dangerous cold include those who lack shelter, work outdoors and/or live in homes with malfunctioning or inadequate heat. Seniors, infants, people with chronic cardiovascular or lung conditions, those using alcohol or drugs, and people with cognitive impairments (like dementia, serious mental illness or developmental disability) are at increased risk.

Health problems resulting from prolonged exposure to cold include hypothermia, frostbite, and exacerbation of chronic heart and lung conditions. If you suspect a person is suffering from frostbite or hypothermia, call 9-1-1 to get medical help.