New Castle News

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January 6, 2014

County joins parts of nation in deep freeze

NEW CASTLE — A deep freeze that is dropping temperatures into negative numbers is expected to move on in a day or two.

Meteorologist John Darnley of the National Weather Service at Pittsburgh International Airport, who had predicted an overnight Monday low of minus -11 degrees, said Tuesday’s high could be minus-1.

“When considering the wind chill factor, that would be a cozy minus-22 degrees,” he said.

Because of that prediction, all schools in Lawrence County, which were closed Monday, will be closed again Tuesday.

The Ellwood City library and New Castle city hall will be closed Tuesday because of the weather.

The frigid cold is expected to move on Wednesday, resulting in “near normal” temperatures, and possibly climbing to a high of 32 to 34 and a low of 24 degrees Thursday before “warming” over the weekend to the high to mid-30s.

Local emergency services are planning for the worst.

Brian Melcer, Lawrence County public safety director, said the unseasonably low temperatures could create problems with heat and water delivery to homes.

Warming stations are being established, he said.

Mahoning Township is offering a warming center for its residents at the Community Center on Route 224. Ellwood City area residents may seek shelter at the Salvation Army at 516 Olive Way.

Both will be open through Wednesday and will welcome residents out of fuel oil or with no place to stay.

Melcer said additional sites may be opened in necessary.

“Neshannock is prepared to open if necessary, and First United Methodist Church in Ellwood City also is available as a stand-by location if needed,” he said.

Melcer said anyone facing an emergency issue is asked to call 211. They will be directed to the closest shelter.

“This is for weather-related emergencies, not police, fire or medical emergencies.”

Melcer said the 211 emergency number was established a few months ago to take pressure off the 911 emergency number.

Melcer said he is coordinating with Chuck Jackson of First Energy.

“They are aware of the forecast and have made appropriate preparations for greater than normal use,” he said.

If a power outage is experienced, Melcer said, portable generators are available through various emergency service providers including Neshannock Township Volunteer Fire Department.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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