Sledders, swimmers deal with harsh weather at Cleveland's Edgewater Park

CLEVELAND - Getting advice on dressing for the cold weather could be found in two extremes at Edgewater Park in Cleveland.

Near -- no, make that in -- the waters of Lake Erie, five men took a New Year's Day swim.

We're cleansing our soul," said swimmer Pat Daniels.

At the other extreme, Pastor Sandra Rosario's face barely peeked out from behind a scarf. She and members of her church were sledding down the hills of the same park.

"You have to dress really, really warm because it's really, really cold out here," Rosario said.

Her advice, echoing that of experts at the Cleveland Clinic, is to dress in layers.

"You have to make sure you got three layers like I do, I got like five layers and I'm still cold," said Rosario.

Leah Huff of Cleveland, along with her sister and their children, left the sledding hill after 90 minutes of sledding fun. Huff was willing to stay but some of the children were getting cold.

Her son was not among those who were cold as he showed of his gloves and coat.

January in Cleveland has some of the coldest temperatures on record. The coldest average temperature of 11 degrees was measured in 1977, while the coldest temperature ever recorded in Cleveland was -20 on Jan. 19, 1994.

Many of us who have battled Cleveland winters, could list some of the tips to keep from succumbing to the cold temperatures; dress in layers, covered exposed skin, were a hat and keep dry (especially hands and feet).

Advice offered online from the Cleveland Clinic also adds avoiding alcohol and smoking while exposed to the cold.

Strong winds on exposed skin can bring frostbite on quickly.

Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Ursula Stanton-Hicks, M.D., described the first symptoms of frostbite as a "pins and needles" sensation followed by numbness. "Frostbitten skin is hard, waxy, cold and has no feeling," she said. After it has thawed, frostbitten skin appears red and may burn. In cases of severe frostbite, the skin may blister, ulcerate and turn gangrenous, possibly necessitating amputation of the affected body part.

NewsChannel5 Chief Meteorologist Mark Johnson is predicting a much more typical Cleveland January this year than last.

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