The extreme cold forecast for Monday night into Tuesday is causing officials from both Monroe County and the City of Rochester to make some changes in programs and offer help for those dealing with wind chill temperatures expected to reach well below zero.
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks says that the county will close its senior nutrition programs on Tuesday so older people don't go out into the cold to get there. Brooks also asked county residents to check on elderly neighbors to make sure they're ok. She says the county does not plan to open up any special "warming shelters" at this point, but that will depend on how conditions play out and whether there are any large power outages.
In the City of Rochester, Mayor Lovely Warren issued a "Heat Sweep", which is enacted when it's anticipated that people may need shelter from the cold. In cooperation with the Red Cross, the city will provide temporary emergency shelter at the following city recreation and community centers:
* Adams Street Community Center: 85 Adams St.;
* Avenue D Community Center: 200 Avenue D;
* Campbell Street Community Center: 524 Campbell St.;
* Carter Street Community Center: 500 Carter St.;
* David F. Gantt Community Center: 700 North St.;
* Edgerton Community Center: 41 Backus St.;
* Flint Street Community Center: 271 Flint St.;
* South Avenue Community Center: 999 South Ave.; and
* Thomas P. Ryan Community Center: 530 Webster Ave.
Tips for dealing with the cold snap
Local medical professionals are reminding people to be prepared for the cold front coming through Rochester. Chair of Emergency Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Dr. Michael Kamali, says anyone planning to be outside needs to dress for the conditions.
“Dress warmly, dress in layers. Keep all your skin covered, make sure you wear good boots, socks, gloves, mittens, a hat, and a scarf to cover your face as well. Be sure to pay attention to your elderly neighbors and small children who might be playing outside in this weather,” he says.
Kamali says frostbite can be a danger with high winds and low temperatures. When outdoors, people should cover as much of their skin as possible, he says.
“If you have exposed skin and the temperature is cold enough, and the wind is high enough, it can be minutes for frostbite to set in.”
Kamali says the weather most likely won’t be extreme enough to have to worry about frostbite, unless people are spending extended periods out in the element.
“If you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, in that time you should seek shelter.”
A wind chill warning is in effect across most of upstate New York until 6pm on Tuesday. Kamali says anyone traveling over the next few days should take extra precautions to help guard against the cold.
“You really do have to be prepared, have to have some blankets in your car, have to make sure your cell phone is charged up, and be prepared for the unexpected.”
Physicians are encouraging people to check on elderly neighbors and keep an eye on children who may be playing outside.