A hard freeze expected through Wednesday

Published 10:03 pm Monday, January 4, 2010

SELMA — It’s getting igloo bursting cold out there, and this week the temperatures don’t look like they’ll change much, according to the National Weather Service in Birmingham.

On Monday the National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather statement for the Black Belt region, which includes Dallas and 12 other counties.

The statement warned of a hard freeze until 10 a.m. today for all of Central Alabama.

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A hard freeze warning also is in effect for late tonight and into Wednesday morning. Forecasters at the National Weather Service said there is a chance of snow for Thursday, but uncertainty still exists on amounts.

“We’re watching,” said Rhonda Abbott, interim director of the Dallas County Emergency Management Authority. “All we can do is tell people to be ready for winter weather and cold temperatures.”

Mrs. Abbott recommended households have enough food and water to keep them going at least 72 hours in the event of more severe winter weather. She also advised people should have this safety net all year long in the event of some natural disaster.

Dr. George Wood of Selma Animal Clinic recommended preparing a place for animals to stay warm. Dogs especially need bedding or something to maintain their body heat.

Dr. Wood said small doghouses are better because they help keep the dog’s body heat inside and insulated. He suggested cedar shavings or an old blanket on the doghouse floor or in the dog’s bed.

Additionally dog owners could hang a shop light in the doghouse to generate some heat, he said, but do not use infrared or spotlights because they might cause fires.

Shorthair and elderly dogs should come inside during these very cold days and nights, Dr. Wood added.

The Black Belt American Red Cross had not opened shelters Monday in Dallas County.

However, The Black Belt American Red Cross announced Monday it would begin accepting appointments for residents of Dallas County Monday, Jan. 11, beginning at 8:30 a.m. for energy assistance provided by Project Share.

There is limited funding this year, according to the agency. The energy assistance program is for low-income elderly or disabled individuals.

To qualify for assistance, the family income must be within certain guidelines, depending on the size of the household and the head of the household must be 62 years of age or older or receive a disability check.

For more information, please call The Black Belt American Red Cross at 874-4641.