2 cold weather shelters now open

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 7, 2010

The dangerous drop in temperatures and the indication snow will fall on Covington County has prompted emergency management officials to establish cold-weather shelters throughout the county.

The National Weather Service is predicting tonight’s low at 22 degrees, as well as a 40-percent chance of snow before midnight. That low could feel even colder, with wind chill values between 15 and 20 degrees.

The most recent release from the NWS stated it is possible the mixed precipitation Thursday afternoon will switch over to snow before ending Thursday evening, said Susan Carpenter, county EMA director.

“There’s a small chance we could see half an inch to an inch of snowfall over some areas if the precipitation lingers beyond 8 p.m. (today), mainly over the inland counties of south Alabama,” she said. “Plus icy patches on roads are possible into Friday morning, so be careful.”

“These are dangerously low temperatures,” she said. “If residents do not have heat or do not have any other arrangements, such as family members or neighbors to help, these shelters will be available to assist people in getting out of the cold. Blankets and cots will be provided, but not food or any other personal items.”

Today, two shelters — one in Andalusia and one in Florala — will open at 5 p.m.

In Andalusia, the Adult Activity Center on Church Street will remain open until 5 p.m. Monday or until further notice. Florala’s shelter will be at the Old National Guard Amory on Fifth Street. If information is needed about the Florala shelter, call 858-3612 during the day, or 858-3245 after hours. It will remain open until Monday or further notice.

The following shelters will open on an “as needed” basis:

In Opp at the Old Rescue Building, at the corner of East Ida and Whaley Street. For more information, call the Opp Police Department at 493-4511.

In Red Level at the FEMA hurricane shelter on Stewart Street. For more information, call 9-1-1 Command at 427-4911.

Carpenter said these are not Red Cross shelters, as Red Cross does not open shelters for cold weather events.

Residents are urged to contact shelters, if needed, as Friday’s low is predicted at 15 degrees; Saturday’s at 10 degrees and Sunday’s near 20 degrees.