Local shelters prepare for drop in temperatures

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

FAIRFIELD - With an unusual drop in temperatures expected through Monday, Solano County officials and shelters are preparing for the coldest days in 16 years.

For the next several days, high temperatures are expected to be in the upper 40s with overnight temperatures plummeting to the low 20s, said Mike Pechner, KCBS meteorologist. That's 10 to 15 degrees below normal.

"A modified Arctic air mass will be over our area today through the Martin Luther King weekend and we could see some of the coldest temperatures since December 1990," he said. Gusty winds could cause temperatures to feel in the single digits.

Solano County Office of Emergency Services suggested preparing the home and family for extreme cold temperatures, including replenishing emergency supply kits; having extra blankets; winterizing the house; moving family pets and plants indoors; insulating pipes and allowing faucets to drip to avoid freezing; and dressing appropriately for the weather.

Emergency Services also warned people not to bring heating devices into the home that are intended for outdoor use.

Solano County Health and Social Services placed its departments on high awareness, asking staff members to check on their clients and report any cases of illness that could be related to the cold.
Extreme temperatures are also a health and safety risk for the elderly, said Leanne Martinson of Area Agency on Aging.

"If it's icy, there is a risk for falls and related injuries. If you're using a fireplace or space heater, you're at risk for fire or monoxide poisoning," she said.

For the homeless of the county, Mission Solano Rescue Mission will double its capacity of 49 beds by adding a second shelter location.

"We will be ready, do what we can and provide resources," said Ron Marlette, founder and executive director of the shelter.

On Wednesday, Solano County Health Assistant Patrick Stasio spent the day anticipating the needs of the homeless by supplying Rio Vista's Community Assistance Center and Mission Solano with blankets, coats, gloves and other articles needed to survive the frigid weather.

"These people have nothing and can't get anything," he said. "They don't have family support or a job to turn to."

Temperatures are expected to warm up slowly next week, with no rain in the forecast.