12/29/17 — Bracing for cold weather means caring for homes and pets

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Bracing for cold weather means caring for homes and pets

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on December 29, 2017 5:50 AM

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Shelter clerk Janice Whitfield inside the Salvation Army homeless shelter, on North William Street, Thursday night. The shelter, which has 16 beds, had several vacancies prior to its 6 p.m. opening.

As subfreezing temperatures bear down on the Wayne County area into next week, pet owners should take steps to make sure animals stay warm and caution is advised for alternative heating sources.

Colder-than-normal temperatures are in the forecast through next Wednesday, with a blast of Arctic air arriving Saturday night, said Scott Sharp, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

"We'll get a reinforcing shot of Arctic air late Saturday night into early Sunday morning," Sharp said. "It's going to be pretty cold this time of the year."

Temperatures Friday will be warmer, in the low 40-degree range, and even warmer Saturday in the 40s and close to the 50-degree mark. But as an Arctic air mass moves across the Wayne County area Saturday evening, temperatures will plummet.

Nighttime temperatures, which will remain in the 20s Friday and Saturday night, will lower to the mid teens by Sunday night, and include a wind chill of 10 degrees, Sharp said. Temperatures will be even colder Monday night, continuing in the mid teens, with a wind chill of 5 to 10 degrees, he said.

Temperatures on Sunday through Tuesday will remain at or below the 32-degree freezing mark.

Barrett Rae, owner of Eli's Friends, said animals can suffer from cold-weather conditions if they are left outside in subfreezing temperatures.

"The most important thing is, if they can, to bring your animals inside," Rae said. "In my mind, the rule is below freezing, they have to be inside. Below 40, I would be thinking about it for sure."

Residents should also be careful when using an electric or kerosene heater as an alternative or added heating source, said Frank Sasser, assistant fire chief with the Goldsboro Fire Department.

"Space heaters need to be 36 inches away from any other object," to prevent a fire, Sasser said. "They're safe, as long as they're used properly."

Heaters should also be plugged directly into the wall and not to a household extension cord, which is unable to carry the heavier electric current.

Cooking stoves and ovens should never be used to heat a home, according to American Red Cross. Home winterization tips include insulating water pipes and allowing faucets to drip during cold weather to prevent freezing.

The Salvation Army's men's homeless shelter, at 610 N. William St., offers 16 beds, with vacancies fluctuating from night to night.