As the local Seattle forecast predicts the mild weather to continue to hover in the low 40s and 50s, the Midwest and East Coast are slammed with temperatures far below freezing. Areas of Minnesota are expected to hit -65 degrees Fahrenheit with windchill. This morning New York’s Central Park saw a comparatively warm low of only -17 degrees Fahrenheit. While some parts of the country are accustomed to dealing with severe cold weather fronts, this arctic blast is more severe than usual and expected to break low-temperature records across the nation.
City officials in Chicago are warming buses to accommodate homeless persons unable or unwilling to stay in shelters. Some churches and non-profits are attempting to deal with homeless populations by distributing supplies in urban areas across the nation, but there are expectations of increased fatalities as most city shelters are beyond capacity. Other high-risk groups include the elderly, infants and low-income families. Experts are suggesting keeping indoor temperatures above 62 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent pipes from bursting, a costly option in either heating bills or potential water damage.
If you have family members in any affected areas, reach out to ensure they’ve taken safety precautions including stocking up on food supplies and staying indoors unless they have adequate severe weather clothing. In extreme conditions, frostbite can take hold in just minutes. The Red Cross is experiencing an emergency need for blood due to the current conditions.
If you are medically able to donate blood, you can find donation facilities here. Another way to donate is to purchase Amazon Wish List items for one of the many homeless shelters distributing cold weather supplies, like St. Stephens in Chicago. You can find their link here.