By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough County cold weather shelters will once again open tonight, (Monday, January 6) for the homeless and those who live in homes without adequate heat, as a blast of bitterly cold, life-threatening air descends on a large part of the country pushing record low temperatures into Florida.
According to a recent USA TODAY report “the forecast for Tuesday (January 7) is extreme: 32 below zero in Fargo, N.D.; minus-21 in Madison, Wis.; and 15 below zero in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chicago. Wind chills — what it feels like outside when high winds are factored into the temperature — could drop into the minus-50s and -60s.”
The National Weather Service expects the wind chill factor in Hillsborough County to be in the 20s beginning Monday evening as well as Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
Officials are urging residents who need to be outside overnight or during the early morning hours to dress in several warm layers and limit skin exposure to the wind.
Additionally, pets should not be left outside during the cold weather as the lower than normal temperatures combined with strong winds could produce dangerous wind chills.
County spokesperson Crystal Pruitt said that local shelters are expecting an increase in the number of residents at each facility, while the Brandon Community Center, Jackson Springs Recreation Center and Wimauma Community Center are all accepting donations of shelter supplies.
“Residents may donate items such as hats, gloves, scarves, blankets, disinfectant wipes, disposable cups, coffee, creamer, paper plates, plastic utensils and sugar,” Pruitt said. “Those wishing to donate supplies should contact each individual shelter.”
Hillsborough County coordinates with local organizations to provide cold weather shelters:
· Brandon Community Center: 510 E. Sadie St. in Brandon.
This shelter opens at 6 p.m. and is for homeless individuals and families with children in the Brandon Area.
· Metropolitan Ministries: 2010 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa.
This shelter opens at 4 p.m. and is for families.
After hours phone: 813-209-1077
· Salvation Army: 1514 N. Florida Ave. in Tampa.
This shelter opens at 4 p.m. and is only for adults.
After hours phone: 813-221-4440
· Jackson Springs Recreation Center: 8620 Jackson Springs Road in Town ‘N Country.
This shelter opens at 6:30 p.m. and is for adults and families.
· Wimauma Community Center: 5705 Hillsborough St. in Wimauma.
This shelter opens at 6 p.m. and is for adults and families.
For more information please visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.