RICHMOND, Va. — The monster snowstorm that blanketed Virginia Friday and Saturday has claimed at least six lives, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Five of the six people who have died, died from hypothermia. A sixth person, from Chesapeake, died in a crash.
The five hypothermia deaths were reported in Hampton (Jan. 22), Wise County (Jan. 23), Charles City County (Jan. 23), Gloucester County (Jan. 23) and Henry County (Jan. 23).
“Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C). Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature passes below 95 F (35 C).”
When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally. Left untreated, hypothermia can eventually lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and to death.Hypothermia is most often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in a cold body of water. Primary treatments for hypothermia are methods to warm the body back to a normal temperature.
Snowstorm-related deaths were reported in other states as well, including North Carolina, Kentucky, New York, Maryland and Ohio. In Washington D.C. , chief medical examiner Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr. said an 82-year-old man died while shoveling snow, the city’s first storm fatality.
“The message is, surrounding shoveling, to take breaks, to make sure that you hydrate, to make sure that you’re checking on your neighbors. Volunteer to shovel their walkway,” Mitchell told reporters.
The death toll increased early Monday when Ohio authorities said that an 18-year-old man died in a sledding accident Friday night.
Officials in New York and Baltimore also said there were reports of people dying while shoveling snow.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the blizzard will almost certainly rank among his city’s “top five snowstorms” in recorded history in terms of snow accumulation.
CNN Wire contributed to this report.