01/07/14 — Whooey, it's cold outside

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Whooey, it's cold outside

By From staff reports
Published in News on January 7, 2014 1:46 PM

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Salvation Army Goldsboro Mission Specialist Dan Sims sets up cots with blankets and pillows Monday night at the church on North William Street in Goldsboro. Homeless citizens of Goldsboro were encouraged to spend the night in the charitable church to get out of the frigid weather.

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Icicles form overnight on the base of the Lady In The Park.

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While Wayne County Public Schools operated on a two-hour delay for record low temperatures today, St. Mary Catholic School ran its regular schedule as students bundled up in layers to keep warm. Here, St. Mary second-grader Sam Mitchell dons a winter jacket and full-face toboggan as he makes his way into the school.

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New Hope Gas Co. supervisor Don Tadlock has been busy over the past several days trying to fill customers' orders for home heating fuel. He and other drivers are filling their delivery trucks several times a day trying to keep up with demand.

Wayne County residents awoke to the coldest day in years this morning as a winter storm that has gripped the eastern half of the nation made its way into North Carolina overnight.

Although there was no precipitation to create the problems that much of the Northeast is suffering through, the fact that temperatures nearly reached single digits forced people to take extra precautions.

Wayne County Public Schools opened two hours later than normal to give students a chance to better prepare for the day, and shelters were open at several locations for people who lacked sufficient heat.

Livestock producers kept careful watch on turkey and hog houses to ensure animals were protected, and propane and other fuel providers were working overtime to keep tanks full.

There were no reports of accidents or fires due to the extreme cold, but local emergency personnel remained on alert. Temperatures were expected to only rise into the mid-20s today, and the forecast for tonight was again for temperatures to be around 20 degrees.

School officials reported no issues associated with the weather-related two-hour delay today and would not speculate on whether a similar decision might be necessary for Wednesday classes.

Ken Derksen, director of communication services for the school district, said the school day got under way without incident and that he had received no reports of buses not starting because of the freezing temperatures.

"We're going to just continue monitoring the weather throughout the day and stay in touch with emergency management officials to determine if we need to make any further announcements for tomorrow," he said.

The Salvation Army opened up a temporary disaster shelter at 6 p.m., but no one needed to use it, shelter director Janice Sauls said.

"We set up nine beds in our community room in our main building and had more cots ready to put out if those nine got used," she said. "We were all set to feed anyone who came, too. We had everything they would need -- snacks, food, hot drinks, coffee, water and blankets to keep warm."

Ms. Sauls said the Salvation Army normally opens a disaster shelter when something like this is going on, when the weather is bad or temperatures go way down past freezing.

The disaster shelter closed at 8:30 a.m. today.

In the Salvation Army's men's homeless shelter, nine residents kept warm overnight, Ms. Sauls said.

"They had everything they needed to keep warm, and we served a hot breakfast," she said.

Although the homeless shelter usually closes during the day, it is staying open today because of the extreme cold.

The Salvation Army could use donations of food or supplies, including towels, washcloths and twin sheets.

"For the homeless shelter, we always need breakfast foods like eggs," Ms. Sauls said.

Salvation Army officials haven't decided whether they will open a temporary disaster shelter again tonight.

The Wayne County chapter of the American Red Cross did not open a shelter last night.

"We were not put on alert by Emergency Management to shelter anybody," director Tammy Forrester said. "That usually comes with large power outages and ice and wind storms. If weather conditions would be such that they bring on power outages, then yes, we will open a shelter."

And if the Salvation Army gets to the point where it doesn't have enough space to house those seeking shelter from the extreme cold, then emergency management would ask the Red Cross to open a shelter for the overflow.

"Right now, people are bunkered down in their homes with their warming apparatus going," Mrs. Forrester said. "It's the homeless and people who don't have a way to warm up who are out right now. This is hard weather on those who are not as fortunate as some."

The Fordham House had to bring in extra cots to shelter between 30 and 35 people Monday night. Director Linda Burroughs said that was about five more then the shelter normally houses.

"We provided snacks and drinks for them," she said. "We had food for meals that anyone who wanted could cook on their own."

The Community Crisis Center didn't have anyone seeking shelter from the cold Monday night.

The center did serve hot meals and hot drinks to those coming in during the day Monday and is doing so again today.

"And today we're making a big pot of hot soup to serve, too," Director Adean George said. "The heat is on, and it's nice and warm in here for anyone who wants to come in."

Volunteers with WAGES Meals on Wheels double-checked Monday with recipients to make sure they would have adequate heat during the night.

"None of the volunteers reported anything yesterday," said Meals on Wheels director Brownie Doss. "Volunteers will deliver meals today and will check again."

Mrs. Doss said the decision was made to close the congregate site in Mount Olive.

"It's an old building that's been renovated, but it has lots of big windows," she said. "The site manager polled everybody as to whether they wanted to come today or not. Most said they would just rather not get out today, but stay home and keep warm."