PITTSFIELD -- Dave Madsen knows how to handle Mother Nature’s deep freeze.

The concrete tester was among the 18 Allegrone Construction employees who braved wind chills of up to minus 20 degrees on Tuesday as they worked on the foundation of the new Berkshire Place retirement home on South Street.

"I wear multiple layers, have these really good gloves with chemical heat packs if I’m outside for a long period of time," Madsen said.

Berkshirites who had to venture out bundled up -- heeding forecasters’ predictions of dangerous wind chills through Wednesday.

The National Weather Service office in Albany, N.Y. has issued a wind chill advisory effective through late Wednesday morning as the single-digit temperatures will feel much colder due to west winds of 25 mph, gusting between 35 to 45 mph Tuesday afternoon.

To avoid frostbite or hypothermia due to the extreme cold, forecasters are urging everyone to wear gloves, a hat or hood over the ears and several layers of clothing when venturing outside.

Heath experts say children and senior citizens are most susceptible to the cold. Check on elderly neighbors to ensure they are warm and comfortable.

As for pets, keep cats and dogs indoors during the cold snap. Allow them outside for brief bathroom breaks and supervised exercise.

So far, local hospitals’ emergency departments are reporting no weather-related injuries due to the severe cold snap.

However, motor vehicles across the region haven’t been so fortunate.

The 3.5 million-member AAA of Southern New England -- which includes Berkshire County -- reports twice as many calls as usual on a winter’s morning, primarily to jump-start dead batteries.

"We’ve had thousands of calls an hour, but the Berkshires has been about normal," said AAA spokesman John Paul. "Your area had more trouble Sunday and Monday with people trying to start cars that sat during the cold on Friday and Saturday."

The latest blast of arctic air moved into the upper Midwest on Sunday, reaching the East Coast and as far south as northern Alabama and Georgia.

The bone-chilling cold won’t last long, as temperatures begin to warm up again to near normal by Friday and back into the 40s for the weekend with a slight chance of rain and/or snow.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233