Those who have to be out in bitter cold work to stay warm

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BROWN DEER (WITI) -- Bitterly cold temperatures are sticking around this week -- and that means daytime wind chills around -5 to -15 -- and overnight windchills potentially as low as -20. Additionally -- we have snow in the forecast for a significant portion of the work week.

It seems that whenever we talk about the cold, we always find people who expect to be out in it, people who are thrown into it, or people who cannot wait to get out in it.

The Milwaukee County Parks crew doesn't get a pass when temperatures barely creep above zero. When the sun is up, it's time to go to work.

Mary McQuiggin and company spent Monday, December 30th clearing a half-dozen trees at Brown Deer Park. Their equipment seemed to have a harder time adjusting to the cold than the manpower does.

"We have to make sure to run a lot of our equipment because it's diesel engines and the cold is harder on the engines," McQuiggin said.

Parks crews get a lot of their work done during the winter actually, because the conditions are right. The ground is solid -- so they aren't going to sink into anything, and there is not a lot of people around to get in the way.

"It's a little easier to get on the grass, fareways and stuff. It's cold, but you have to just keep work to warm up,"McQuiggin said.

Greg Walter was one of the few people enjoying the park on Monday. A brewmaster by trade, Walter took the day off to hit the cross country ski trail.

"Once you get your blood moving and warm up, it feels pretty good. It's kind of like jogging on skis," Walter said.

However, the extreme cold is dangerous -- and can cause some big problems.

Milwaukee Public Works crews were on hand to repair a water main break on Howard Avenue on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, a doctor says if you are thrown into the cold, one of the biggest risks can be the air you breathe.

"If we are breathing in really cold air, our lung pressures get tight, the mucus and lining of our lungs gets thick and it's hard to breathe. It's hard to exchange that oxygen," Dr. Tara Rakowski said.

Dr. Rakowski says even a quick walk from your car to your front door is enough time to cause problems if you don't cover your mouth.