Blast of bitterly cold weather poses danger to people, pets

SEATTLE -- When the weather gets this cold in Western Washington, only those who work or remain inside can easily stay warm. But for many people, that is not an option.

Some must work outside, directing traffic, carrying bags, repairing water lines.

Downtown Seattle worker Lisa Smith says, "To stay warm, I wear four layers on every limb..."

The other part of the job is staying warm.

"I wear my Under Armour. You know if the pro football players wear it ... I endorse it myself," hotel bellman Jeff Mahr said.

"Good enough for them, good enough for you?”

"Exactly," Mahr replied.

"To stay warm, I wear four layers on every limb except for my gloves; these are from Peru and sometimes jump up and down,” downtown worker Lisa Smith said.

Staying warm at work is one thing; staying warm at play is another thing entirely.

"It's freezing when I come out here, it's like I can barely breathe. I layer up, got gloves, extra socks, keeping it warm,” soccer player Taylor Crace said.

Winter soccer leagues don't let the cold weather stop the game, or practice.

Federal Way Football coach Tom Moore says, as in any sport, preparation is key.

"To be honest with you, it's very difficult to play on this.  I mean, once the turf gets frozen, it's very difficult to play in the first place, so we tell them pretty much make sure you're layered up from your shins up. Everything is layered up,” Moore said.

But it's not just about keeping warm. It's also about staying safe, and avoiding injury.

Just walking out of the house or down the street can be dangerous so make sure to watch for slick patches of ice that could still form on sidewalks.

Finally, where people go, their dogs are usually not far behind.  Keeping them warm and safe is important.

"Dogs and cats can get frostbite just like people, so it is good to make sure ideally they're not out there very long, and if they are out there, they can wear clothing, but we also need to be concerned about the de-icer on the streets and make sure we're cleaning off their feet after they come back inside,” veterinarian Jocelyn Liu said.

And then there are those who have no homes.  Emergency shelters were opened throughout the Puget Sound region for the homeless, who are the most in danger of freezing to death.