Temperatures to dip into mid-teens Monday night

Published 5:17 pm Monday, January 6, 2014

With a hard freeze warning and temperatures expected to plunge into the mid-teens Monday night, Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey cautions residents to follow safety protocols when trying to stay warm.

Church representatives also offer their own suggestions during these cold times.

Some tips to keep in mind during the hard freeze include the following:

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• Bring pets indoors.

• Close off unneeded rooms.

• Stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors.

• Close blinds or cover windows with blankets at night.

• Be sure to have a smoke detector installed.

• Never leave lit candles or other flames unattended.

Many people will be using space heaters during the hard freeze. If so, be sure to:

• Keep the space heater three feet away from anything that may catch on fire-including drapes, furniture or bedding.

• Never cover the space heater.

• Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.

• Never leave children unattended near a space heater.

• Avoid using extension cords to plug in your space heater

• Allow faucets to drip to prevent burst pipes.

Since shelters, such as the soon to be opened FEMA 361 building on Industrial Park Road, are designed to provide safe haven for people in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster, assistance during weather extremes often falls on churches in the area.

Judith Smith of Faith Presbyterian Church says church deacons have a list of elderly, or “shut-in” residents that they are personally responsible for during a crisis such as a hard freeze.

“Each deacon ensures that the persons on their list have power and heat. The deacons primarily deal with people who cannot leave their home. It is the duty of the deacon to ensure their well-being,” Smith said.

Floretta Williams, food pantry director for the Greater Hope Foundation, says that her church isn’t equipped to provide shelter to those who might need it during unusually cold days of the year.

“We don’t have the resources. But we do as much as we can for what we have,” said Williams.

As an alternative, Williams says the foundation provides quilts and blankets to those in need, such as the elderly and/or the handicapped, on a per person basis.

Smith encourages persons who know of someone in potential jeopardy to contact their local church for assistance.

“The truth of the matter is, we don’t have many days like this a year. However, help of some kind is usual available at churches in the area,” Smith said.

Brookhaven and Lincoln County schools will be open Tuesday and resume as normally scheduled, according to school officials Monday afternoon.

The national weather service in Jackson issued the hard freeze warning for Lincoln County Sunday night. The warning will be in effect until noon Tuesday.

Lows Monday night were predicted to be near 15 degrees in the local area with north winds of 5 to 10 miles per hour. Tuesday’s temperatures are predicted only to reach the mid-30s with lows again Tuesday night in the 15-to-20 degree range.

A hard freeze warning is issued when sub-freezing temperatures are likely over a prolonged period of time.