Bitter cold temperatures invade area for several nights

Published 11:46 pm Sunday, December 31, 2017


NATCHEZ — Temperatures are expected to dip into the low teens early this week in one of the coldest nights in several years, a representative of the National Weather Service said.

Temperatures are not expected to rise above freezing again until Wednesday, and nighttime wind-chill factors could push the effective temperature to just 10 degrees Monday night.

Email newsletter signup

The National Weather service is predicting a daytime temperature in the mid 20s for Monday, conditions which could endanger vulnerable populations as well as animals in the Adams County area.

The National Weather Service meteorological intern Tony Hurt said to leave a constant drip of warm water in pipes, since low temperatures could freeze fixtures and cause pipes to burst.

Residents are encouraged to wear several layers while outside and to stay inside where possible.

Vulnerable populations — such as elderly, infirmed and homeless — will be particularly susceptive to the freezing conditions.

Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church members have opened the doors of their church to the homeless in Adams County.

The Rev. Birdon Mitchell said Sunday that he felt led to open the church to anyone who may not have a warm place to stay.

“The Lord put it on my heart to open the church so nobody had to be out in the cold alone,” Mitchell said. “On one of the coldest nights of the year, I’m afraid there aren’t many places available to the homeless.”

Zion Chapel is located on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Jefferson streets. The entrance to the upstairs room, where occupants will spend the night, is on Rankin Street, Mitchell said.

Mitchell requested that anyone interested in staying the night call him at (601) 493-7164 so he may escort them to the upstairs sleeping area.

“Wherever I am tonight, I want to be able to render these services,” he said.

Hurt said anyone with the ability to check on elder residents should do so to ensure they have food, blankets and adequate heating.

Lena McKnight, director of the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society, said residents should be aware of how much energy it takes for an animal to stay warm.

“Just shivering expends energy,” McKnight said. “Feed your pets more in the winter to give them more calories to keep warm.”

This principle applies to both pets and livestock; McKnight said it is imperative to give large animals fresh hay so that they may have a source of energy to keep them warm.

Outside of being a source of energy for large animals, insulators such as hay provide animals with a place to burrow into and retain body heat, McKnight said.

Water bowls can freeze during especially low temperatures, and McKnight said animal-owners should be wary of the type of water container from which the animal drinks.

“A lot of people don’t think about this, but if you have a metal bowl, the animal’s tongue can stick to the side during cold weather,” McKnight said. “Plastic is a better option for winter water bowls.”