In response to forecasts of unusually cold temperatures over the next several days, and community organizations will open several overnight warming centers in and . The centers will be for those who need a place to get out of anticipated subfreezing temperatures.
will open two centers:
- The Club House at the Gold Country Fairgrounds, ; and
- The Lauppe Hall at the Fairgrounds, .
These facilities will open tonight at 8 p.m. They will remain open until 8 a.m. Friday morning and will again be open, subject to use, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. the following morning. The Red Cross is assisting by providing cots and bedding at these two facilities.
The Gathering Inn, a faith-based organization that operates nomadic shelters throughout the winter in , will have additional capacity tonight, Friday and Saturday nights at their shelters and anticipates being able to accommodate all those who need a warm place to stay. Those needing assistance are asked to go to the organization's welcoming centers by specific times (see below) each afternoon. Additional information is available by calling (916) 791-9355 or (916) 889-4593. Those needing a place to spend the night should be waiting outside one of the following two locations at the indicated time :
- , in in the . by 4:30 each afternoon; and
- The Gateway, , in , by 6 p.m.
Additionally, the Salvation Army will open a warming center in :
This center will be open 24 hours a day from 5 p.m. tonight until Monday morning.
officials do not anticipate having to open a facility at , but have made contingency plans in the event that such a facility is required.
"Residents and visitors need to be aware of the dangers of extremely cold weather and take necessary steps to stay warm and safe," said Dr. Richard J. Burton, Placer County Public Health Officer. "The community is coming together to offer places where residents can get out of the cold. We urge everyone who needs a place to stay warm to utilize these available resources. We also ask that people look out after family members, friends and neighbors who may be medically fragile, elderly or ill."
In addition to taking precautions for family members, public health officials are reminding residents that pets will likely need assistance, especially if they are kept outside. Animal Services is prepared to take pets of individuals who are being sheltered at any of the centers in the county. Individuals will be asked to take their pets to the warming shelters and warming shelter staff will coordinate transportation for the pets from the warming shelters to animal shelter facilities.
The National Weather Service is predicting a cold front from will bring very cold weather Thursday through Sunday, and has issued a freeze watch for sustained, below-freezing temperatures overnight Friday and Saturday. Lower elevations will see overnight lows in the teens and low 20s. Lows in the Sierra are predicted to be near zero.
With neither significant amounts of precipitation expected nor high winds predicted, the Placer County Office of Emergency Services is not expecting power outages. However, both Placer County Health and Human Services and the OES are advising residents and visitors to be prepared. Precautions include:
1) Preparing your home and family:
- Review and update your family emergency plan.
- Replenish your emergency supply kits, including battery-operated radio and flashlights.
- Have extra blankets on hand.
- Have a plan for meeting the needs of infants, children, seniors and those with disabilities.
- Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Move family pets indoors or to an enclosure out of the elements. Likewise protect livestock or other large animals from the cold weather.
- Move plants indoors or cover with blankets or plastic to prevent freezing.
- Maintain a sufficient supply of heating fuel.
- Insulate pipes and allow faucets to drip during cold weather to avoid freezing.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Do NOT bring heating devices into the home that are intended for outdoor use , such as barbecues and other cooking equipment or other fuel-burning devices. These items can produce deadly carbon monoxide.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
2) Dressing for the Weather:
- Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
- Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
- Wear a hat.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
3) Traveling with caution:
- Have your car winterized and make sure it is working properly.
- Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread.
- Augment your car’s emergency supply kit with a shovel, windshield scraper and blankets.
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
- Check road conditions before departing.
- Let others know of your route and your estimated time of arrival.
4) Recognizing symptoms of exposure:
- Confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and shivering are signs of hypothermia. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
- Gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy skin are symptoms of frostbite. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
- In the case of overexposure to freezing temperatures, remove wet clothing and immediately warm the body with a blanket or warm fluids like hot cider or soup. Avoid caffeine or alcohol.