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Cold weather tips and assistance for the upcoming weekend

According to the National Weather Service, overnight lows will dip into the 40’s to the 30’s this weekend.

The Florida Department of Health in Collier County is reminding residents and visitors to stay safe this winter by taking precautions during cold weather and in Lee County two warming stations were opened due to the colder temperatures.

The warming stations will be open from 8 p.m. thru 8 a.m. on Jan. 13, 14, and 15. These stations are not shelters and are not intended for overnighting. Water, coffee and blankets will be provided for those in need.

Warming station locations are: Pine Island Library, 10701 Russell Road, Bokeelia; and San Carlos Island Comfort Station, 1184 Main Street, Fort Myers Beach.

LeeTran buses will provide roaming warming stations to offer a reprieve from the weather, and if desired will transport residents to the closest warming station. The vehicles will travel along Pine Island, Fort Myers Beach and San Carlos Island between 8 – 10:30 p.m.

On Matlacha and Pine Island a LeeTran Passport van will travel along Pine Island Road and Stringfellow Road to pick up passengers. On Fort Myers Beach and San Carlos Island a LeeTran bus with “Special” on the header marquis will follow Route 490 to transport residents to a Warming Station.

The Florida Department of Health in Collier County said it is important to take safety precautions during cold weather to prevent hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to cold temperatures, usually below 40 degrees; however, it can also occur at temperatures above 40 when a person becomes cold from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.

Individuals who are more susceptible to hypothermia include older adults that have inadequate clothing, food, or heating, infants sleeping in cold bedrooms, people who remain outdoors for long periods of time, and individuals who use illicit drugs or drink alcohol.

DOH-Collier recommends the following safety tips to stay healthy and safe during cold weather:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible. Check on family members, friends, and neighbors who are more vulnerable to cold weather hazards including older adults, young children, and those who are chronically ill.
  • When outdoors, wear proper clothing. Dress in multiple layers of loose-fitting clothing. Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.
  • Heat your home safely. Be extremely careful when using a fireplace, wood stove, or space heater. Never leave flames and fires unattended and keep them away from children and pets. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never use generators, grills, or other charcoal burning devices inside your home or garage. Generators should be used 20 feet away from an opening such as windows or doors, with the exhaust pointed away from the building. CO is odorless, colorless, and deadly. Install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of CO, and make sure to change the batteries as needed.
  • Eating well-balanced meals can help you stay warm. Drink warm beverages, such as hot tea, to help maintain your body temperature. Consult with your doctor if you have any dietary restrictions.
  • Provide pets with warm shelter. If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your pets.
  • Be cautious of animals that are displaced due to the cold weather. Never approach or touch a wild or feral animal including cats, bats, or raccoons, especially if they appear sick or injured as they could have rabies.

The Naples Fire-Rescue Department also weighed in, posting a weather alert for Naples and offering safety suggestions.

As cold weather is expected this weekend, please consider practicing fire and carbon monoxide safety.

  • Breezy conditions will result in wind chills being much lower than actual temperatures on Friday night.
  • Saturday night will bring the coldest actual temperatures.
  • Light winds and clear skies on Saturday night will also bring the potential for patchy frost development across interior locations of south Florida.
  • Freezing temperatures are not expected at this time.

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