The National Weather Service forecasts temperatures to fall into the single digits overnight, with the air not warming above freezing until Wednesday. Many schools and public agencies have delayed opening to deal with the coldest temperatures.
Starting today at 1 p.m. the Carver Community Center at 720 W.14th St. in Anniston will open for residents who do not have heat. The American Red Cross is donating cots and blankets to the center, and Interfaith Ministries is providing snacks and bottled water.
“We’ve just set up a place where the public can come to get out of the elements,” said Anniston Mayor Vaughn Stewart.
The community center will remain open through the next two nights into Wednesday. Stewart said the city will then assess the weather to see if the station needs to remain open.
Stewart said the city also is accepting donations for the center of blankets, sleeping bags and pre-packaged snacks, which can be taken to City Hall or to the center.
The Jacksonville Community Center at 501 Alexandria Road S.W. also is open for residents who need a place to beat the cold. Janis Burns, director of Jacksonville’s Parks and Recreation Department, said this is the first time in her six years working for the city there was a need for a warming station for residents.
Although cots and blankets will be available from the Red Cross at the center, Burns said she encourages residents to bring some from home if available.
Burns said the center also is working to get a TV for the lobby so residents and staff can keep up with the forecast and watch tonight’s BCS National Championship game between Auburn and Florida State.
“We just don’t want people to sit in the cold,” Burns said. “We want to make it convenient for our residents.”
Anniston residents who want more information should contact City Hall at 256-236-8221. Jacksonville residents should contact the Community Center at 256-435-3427.
Also in Anniston, the Salvation Army has said it will open a warming center at its facility at 420 Noble St. as a temporary warming station with coffee, snacks and a television. The organization also has said it will waive the normal $10 nightly fee for the homeless to use its overnight shelter.
Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.