Residents encouraged seek shelter in warming centers in the cold

Published on Thursday, 28 December 2017 21:39
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

@brianjohnsonBP

Santa Claus may have gone back to the North Pole, but he left behind the bitter cold.

As temperatures continue to drop to single digits this week, the weather forecast shows no indication of changing anytime soon.

Thursday had a wind chill advisory in effect with air temperatures in the single digits and a northwesterly wind of 10-20 mph, which meant wind chills ranging from zero to -20. However meteorologists Mark Dixon and Bruce DePrest of WFSB reported a slight warm-up for Friday, but it’s still going to be cold.

Temperatures will reach the upper teens and low 20s, with partly sunny skies. By evening temperatures are expected to drop down to the lower teens and single digits.

On Tuesday, Gov. Dannel Malloy put into effect the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol though Jan. 2.

In Bristol, warming centers are open during the day at the senior center, Bristol Public Library and F.N. Manross Memorial Library. Additionally, the Salvation Army and the Agape Center at the former Bristol Baptist Church are open from 9 a.m. to noon.

“We haven’t seen too much traffic. We always have free coffee in our coffee shop at 10 a.m. and people can head to our library to play with puzzles or read books as they thaw out,” said Jason Krueger, assistant director at the Bristol Senior Center.

The Bristol Public Library will be open their regular business hours for anyone who wants to get out of the cold.

“People can come in to get warm,” said Scott Stanton, public relations with Bristol Public Library. “We direct those seeking an overnight shelter to St. Vincent DePaul Mission,” he added.

Bristol’s St. Vincent DePaul Mission, located at 19 Jacobs St., is able to provide overnight shelter thanks to volunteers from Brian’s Angels Homeless Outreach.

“They run the warming shelter during the winter and the cooling center during the summer,” said Phillip J. Lysiak, executive director of St. Vincent DePaul Mission. “They provide people with different foods and other items to help them keep warm. In addition, our center does an overflow shelter that can accommodate 15 extra people. We also can take in three more through the governor’s Winter Protocol. Last night, we had the full 15 extra people in addition to the 25 we usually accommodate here during the winter.”

In Plainville, people can head to the library during its regular hours as a warming center. The senior center, due to space reasons, is only able to accommodate seniors.

“We have a lot of things going on and not that much room for families,” said Shawn Cohen, Plainville Senior Center director.

The Plainville Public Library will be open as a warming center with limited hours this weekend.

In Southington, people can go to either the library or the senior center to stay warm.

“We are open as a warming center during regular hours,” said Robert Verderame, executive director of the Calendar House senior center. “We have lunch and fitness classes and coffee and snacks. Right now though we’re only seeing our regular people who come in to play ping pong or shoot pool. However, we are here as an option if people need us.”

Josh Rickman, from CTtransit, said the department is treating the cold weather as they would any other weather event. CTtransit takes notice when ice is forming on the roads and if there is anticipated precipitation.

“ With cold weather the main concern is keeping the buses on the roads and on time,” Rickman said.

Rickman suggests people use CTtransit’s alert system to keep up to date on potential service changes, detours and other news. More information on signing up for alerts can be found at cttransit.com/alerts.

For people braving the cold, experts say it is important to bundle up and wear lots of layers.

“If you have to go outside during these frigid temperatures, you must dress in multiple layers of clothing…Make sure you have your face and hands covered,” said Scott Devico, public information officer for the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Angie DeRosa and Skyler Frazer contributed to this story.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Plainville, Southington Herald on Thursday, 28 December 2017 21:39. Updated: Thursday, 28 December 2017 21:41.