While the Grand Strand prepares for the possibility of winter weather to hit on Wednesday, freezing temperatures are expected to continue throughout the week.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service in Wilmington, North Carolina predict single-digit wind chills to begin Thursday night, and temperatures into the teens each night beginning on Friday and into the weekend.
A detailed forecast calls for temperatures between 17 degrees and 37 degrees, not including wind-chill temperatures. On Wednesday night into Thursday wind-chill values, what the temperature will actually feel like, dip as low as 10 degrees, with gust up to 22 miles per hour.
Due to the cold weather, New Directions’ Street Reach in the City of Myrtle Beach is opening its doors to people who need a place to stay.
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“When it’s dangerously cold, or dangerously hot, we do go over our capacity,” Kathy Jenkins, executive director of the shelter, said.
Since Christmas night, the shelter has opened the doors of its men’s shelter, located at 1005 Osceola Street in Myrtle Beach, housing over 30 additional men and seven to eight additional women, Jenkins said. The shelter can hold up to 150 people.
“We are taking as many men and women as are needed,” Jenkins said.
Many city officials are sending out tips on how to stay safe in cold weather. Here are some tips from the American Red Cross:
- Keep pets inside. If they are unable to come inside, create a shelter where they can stay warm and have unfrozen water.
- Watch for hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia symptoms include dizziness, confusion, severe shivering and exhaustion. Symptoms of frostbite include flushed gray, white blue or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin.
- Check on neighbors, especially elderly people and people with disabilities and kids.
- Wear layers of clothing when going outside.
- Create an emergency pack that flashlights and batteries, extra non-perishable food and water, a battery-powered radio, extra medicines and baby items and first-aid supplies.
When traveling, which is not recommended in winter weather, the Horry County Emergency Management Department suggest driving slow and in the middle lanes due to water pooling on the outside lanes. Drivers should be aware of following distances and avoid driving behind large trucks and buses. Ramps, bridges and overpasses freeze before roadways.
In order to keep pipes from freezing, Mark Kruea, City of Myrtle Beach public information officer, and Jackie Broach, City of Georgetown public information officer, suggest insulating pipes in newspaper or towels and keeping a thin stream of water constantly running.
Any garden hoses should also be disconnected and you should learn how to turn off a water valve in case a pipe bursts.
Cold weather also brings the increased possibility of fires due to the use of space heaters and fireplaces. Mark Nugent, public information officer for Horry County Fire Rescue suggested the following tips.
- If using a space heater keep an open space in order to prevent a fire. Be sure to plug the heater into a wall socket rather than an extension cord and turn off the heater before leaving the home or going to bed.
- Never use appliances to heat your home.
- If you still have a Christmas tree up, take it down as soon as possible.
- Make sure that all fireplace ashes are disposed in a metal container outside of your house and covered with a layer of water. Don’t dispose of them in a paper bag or cardboard box.
- Check smoke alarms and make sure that they are working properly.
- Have a home escape plan prepared in case of a fire.
- Don’t use an open flame to attempt to thaw out frozen pipes.