Extremely cold temperatures are being forecasted leading into Christmas weekend, and Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency is advising residents and businesses to be prepared.
Temperatures are expected to significantly drop Thursday night into Friday morning to include the single digits and teens. Wind chills could be below zero.
The National Weather Service is expecting to issue Wind Chill Advisories or Warnings across the state, and Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a State of Emergency ahead of the frigid weather.
A warming station at Action Church, 271 Marietta Road, in Canton will open at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23 with dinner being served. The warming station is planned to open every day from Dec. 23-Dec. 25 at 6 p.m. and close at 8 a.m. Breakfast and dinner will be served each day. If no one shows up on any given day by 11 p.m., the warming station will close.
A warming station at Latimer Hall at 103 Towne Lake Parkway in Woodstock will be in operation from Dec. 23 at noon to Dec. 26 at 9 a.m. Guests are encouraged to arrive by 6 p.m. each evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served. If no one arrives by 10 p.m., a decision will be made whether or not to remain open.
“Please reach out to your family and friends and make sure everyone is prepared,” said EMA Director Daniel Westbrook. “If someone you know is in need of a place to stay warm and get a meal, please let them know about the warming stations.”
According to the National Weather Service, Cherokee County is not expected to get any winter precipitation accumulation, however, any water on the roads will freeze, causing patchy ice. Cherokee County Public Works stands ready with on-call crews and prepared equipment to treat county roads that need it.
Wind gusts could cause downed trees and/or power lines. As is the case throughout the year, Public Works, E 9-1-1, Emergency Management, the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and Cherokee Fire & Emergency Services work in tandem to ensure roads are cleared in a timely fashion. Additionally, Cherokee County officials stay in touch with the power companies that serve the area and provide any needed resources.
Be prepared ahead of frigid temperatures
· Below freezing temperatures are expected over a 72-plus-hour period, which can cause problems to household pipes. Ensure outdoor spigots are covered. Drip faucets inside homes and businesses, and open cabinet doors allowing heat to access the indoor pipes.
· Limit your exposure outdoors. If you must be outside, dress in multiple layers with at least one being insulated. This should include a wind resistant coat, warm hat and gloves to limit exposure to sub-freezing wind chills.
· Know signs of hypothermia, which include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, drowsiness, slurred speech and memory loss.
· Bring in pets from the outdoors and make accommodations for outdoor animals.
· Have a safe alternative method to stay warm in case power goes out, including natural and gas fireplaces, propane and kerosene heating sources. If you have a chimney, ensure it has been cleaned and is safe to use. Bring in extra wood for your fireplace before the cold weather, ensure you have proper ventilation, do not use a grill inside your house or have your car running inside the garage.
· Those who depend on electricity for any medical equipment should have backup power methods in place or an alternate safe location to stay if you lose power.
· Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car including extra warm clothes, blankets, flashlights, first aid kit, ice scraper, phone charger, jumper cables, matches and water.
Stay updated on road closures, weather warnings and more throughout the year but registering for CodeRed. The service is free. Visit www.cherokeega-ema.org/codered to learn more and to sign up.