Lows in teens may be on way

Published 11:59 pm Monday, January 12, 2009

A quick step outside the front door can confirm winter is officially here. And with temperatures projected to dip into the teens by this weekend, there’s no doubt it’s here to stay.

Today is expected to bring sunny skies and high near 56 degrees; however wind gusts as high as 25 miles per hour could make it feel like it is 30 degrees outside. By tonight, temperatures will plummet to a low of 26 degrees — a trend that will continue with Wednesday’s expected low of 24 degrees, Thursday’s 16 degrees and Friday’s 19 degrees.

And with any predicted plunge to sub-freezing temperatures later this week, the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross is expressing deep concern that, along with the dramatic drop in temperatures to the teens there will also be a drastic increase in the number of house fires across the county.

“It’s been proven year after year that once the temperatures take a deep plunge for a few days, the number of house fires goes up significantly as many residents take whatever measures necessary to keep them and their family members warm,” said Jeffery Biggs, executive director of the Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Because of the arctic cold moving into Covington County, Biggs said the chapter is concerned that a dramatic increase in house fires could be detrimental to the chapter’s operations.

He said last year during this time of year, the chapter was placed in dire financial straits due to an unusual rise in single-family fires.

“Our concern is that situation could happen again with these extreme temperatures,” he said.

In order to avoid being put in a dire financial situation, the local chapter is actively seeking financial contributions to help offset the costs associated with the recent house fires the chapter has responded to, and any future house fires that could be a result of the extreme temperatures.

“We never want to worry about telling a family we are unable to help them because we don’t have the funds,” Biggs said.

For more information on ways to help keep your home warm during cold weather or how you can help the local chapter of the American Red Cross help your friends and neighbors affected by fire, please call the chapter at 428-2680, or stop by their office at 234 Hillcrest Drive, Andalusia, in the Covington County Administration Building.