Cold to stick around; officials advise caution

ALPENA — The frigid temperatures are expected to stick with the Alpena area for the next week.

“They should stick around for a pretty long time. At least for the next week. For Alpena It looks like high temperatures in the teens, lows in the single digits either side of zero,” meteorologist Monique Runyan of the National Weather Service Gaylord office said.

She said those temperatures will last for a while and they don’t include the wind chill factor. Once the wind kicks in the temperature most likely will dip below zero, she said.

“There will also be period chances of lake effect snow impacting northwest Michigan. Northeast Michigan will still some snow showers. It just won’t be as heavy. It you expose yourself to the cold for too long it can become dangerous,” she said.

She suggests taking precautions.

The Michigan State Police released a statement about how to handle the cold temperatures. The statement said exposure to these temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions.

MSP said to stay indoors if possible. If people must go outside they should wear protective gear.

It also said people should avoid overexertion when they shovel, push a car or walk. Signs of frostbite include loss of feeling or pale appearance of fingers, toes or face. Signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, drowsiness and exhaustion, the statement said.

This time of year is also a good time to test carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they work and there is good battery life. People also should check on vulnerable family, friends and neighbors who may be at risk to cold exposure.

If someone needs assistance with heat utility bills or deliverable fuels there is a local option. The Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency offers assistance if someone has applied and meets certain criteria. To be eligible a person must be a resident of Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego or Presque Isle counties. They also must meet a certain financial threshold and have utility or heating fuel in threat of disconnections, bills past due or disconnected, propane/fuel oil tank is at or below 25 percent, have two cord of firewood or less.

To learn more about the program go to the website at, www.nemcsa.org/services/heat-and-utility-assistance/ or call 358-4713.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.