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Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 10:26am

Arctic Air Could Bring More To Shelters

Forecasters expect an arctic blast of cold air to send temperatures into the teens and twenties in north Georgia Tuesday night into Wednesday. And a freeze watch is posted in an area of south Georgia that includes Albany, Tifton, Fitzgerald, Moultrie, Bainbridge and Valdosta.

Laura Stafford, with the Georgia Salvation Army, says they are prepared to open more room at shelters across the state. But they expect the greatest demand will be in north Georgia.

She says “Soon as it hits freezing people bring out the cots and they open their doors. Last year, with the nights of shelter across the state, we had over 310 thousand nights of shelter that were provided.”

Lt. Matt Cunningham with the Gainesville Salvation Army says they see the greatest demand for shelter in December, January and February due to the cold.

“We may see as many as 200 or 300 more nights of shelter provided in a month.”he says.

Gerald Haygood, director of the Hope Rebirth Homeless Shelter in Summerville, says they are prepared for more people.
“We do have a room that we convert into a dorm, just for weather-related. And we are expecting when temperatures drop, we get several calls. And we end up with quite a few people sometimes.” he says.

Lisa Janak with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency says you should take precautions to avoid burst pipes.

“Anytime it goes below freezing it’s a good idea to let your faucets drip a little bit to make sure. And you can even wrap some insulation around your pipes to make sure they stay warm. Particularly uninsulated pipes that are underneath your sinks near exterior walls.” she says.

Temperatures are expected to be well below average over the next week.