Chilly weather makes comeback
After only a brief reprieve from the chilly weather, Southwest Floridians will find themselves bundling up again as another cold air system moves through the area this weekend.
Accuweather forecaster Andrew Ulrich predicts lows will reach around 38 degrees in the Cape tonight.
Early this morning forecasters predicted that with wind chill, the temperature will have been around 34 degrees.
As a result of the relapse in dropping temperatures, the Lee County Emergency Operations Center is offering safety information, and several local shelters will offer a place to stay warm and have a meal for those in need.
Two shelters will be open at 7 p.m. tonight. The Salvation Army will open the Red Shield Lodge as a cold weather shelter at 2476 Edison Avenue, Fort Myers. Also, the Fort Myers Rescue Mission, located at 6900 Mission Lane, will be used as a cold weather shelter.
“They do a great service,” said LCEOC spokesperson Terry Kelley. “It’s important because we do have a large homeless population here in Lee County for the shelters, and anybody going there or even the soup kitchen, if they don’t have room they do hand out blankets.”
The Fort Myers Rescue Mission is a homeless shelter that cares for approximately 100 people regularly during the year, and sees about 20 to 30 new faces on the nights when cold weather hits, according to program director George Schaefer.
“All they have to do is show up,” Schaefer said. “We serve 300 meals a day, and hand out clothing. We’re here to help the homeless.”
The Fort Myers Rescue Shelter also will offer meals at designated times, a chance to shower, pillows and blankets.
Additionally, the Salvation Army will offer a hot meal tonight at 5:51 p.m. at their shelter, and also has blankets and pallet beds available for the night.
“Everybody can get a hot meal and sleep warm,” said Salvation Army spokesperson Jacquie Williams.
Typically, the shelter sees about 20 to 30 people come in due to the cold each night, Williams said.
Meanwhile, the Emergency Operations Center offers the following tips during the cold weather:
* Keep space heaters away from flammable materials, and inspect the heater and electrical chord carefully before use. Also, do not use extension cords.
* Check to make sure smoke detectors are working in the home.
* Do not use charcoal or gas grills in the home as they can produce carbon monoxide.
* Bring pets and potted plants indoors.
* Protect wells and outdoor plumbing from freezing.
* Check on neighbors, friends and relatives, as the elderly and children are vulnerable to colder weather.
* Stay indoors or dress warmly, in layers if possible.
* Cover outdoor plants.
You can cover plants with cloth or cardboard, or purchase special plant covers at businesses such as Danny Yates Landscape Nursery, located at 425 S.W. Pine Island Road.
The weather is expected to warm up Sunday with a high around 71, though Monday could bring strong thunderstorms as an area of low pressure moves east from the Gulf of Mexico, Ulrich predicted.