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Bitterly cold temperatures are expected in Enterprise later this week and city leaders are encouraging residents to prepare now for the wintry weather.
A hard freeze watch is in effect for Coffee County for Friday morning, as well as Friday night through Sunday morning. Strong winds and dangerous wind chills are expected as a strong arctic front moves through the area. Low temperatures Friday through Sunday will be in the teens to lower 20s.
“We want everyone to stay safe and warm during this dangerously cold weather,” Mayor William E. Cooper said. “Now is the time to check on your family, friends and neighbors and make sure they are prepared.”
Residents are encouraged to call 2-1-1 for the most up-to-date information about resources available in the community. The Christian Mission will provide a warming station and have shelter available for those who need it. Anyone who wishes to take advantage of these services will need to provide proper identification.
The Enterprise Fire Department reminds everyone to practice fire safety as they work to retain as much heat as possible in their homes.
“House fires are common in the winter and can happen if you are not careful about how you are heating your home,” Enterprise Fire Chief Christopher Davis said. “Never use a generator inside your home, basement, shed or garage, even if the doors and windows are open. Keep generators as far away from your home as possible.”
Carbon monoxide poisoning from generators is possible, and the Fire Department reminds residents to install and test carbon monoxide and smoke alarms at least once a week.
“If you are using a space heater, keep anything that can burn at least three feet away. When you leave the room or go to bed, turn it off. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.”
Chief Davis also recommends closing blinds or curtains, as well as to close doors to unused rooms to help the area retain heat.
“You can also stuff towels or rags in the cracks under doors to help keep the cool air from entering your home. But please ensure that any exits are not blocked in a way that will prevent you from leaving in an emergency.”
The City of Enterprise Water Department is on standby, ready to assist with any issues that may come from the cold temperatures.
“The same incident occurred in 1985 on Christmas morning, wreaking havoc on the water system and customers’ plumbing,” Field Superintendent Alan Mahan said, referencing the expected drop in temperatures. “The person on call was slammed with more than 300 calls during the holidays.”
Mahan encourages residents to insulate all exposed water pipes to prevent any damage.
“All meter boxes and irrigation valve boxes should be closed. Move all exposed water hoses inside a building to prevent freezing and cracking. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, turn it off to avoid causing damage to your system and to prevent any possible street run-off that may ice over.”
Those who have pets, live stock or farm animals, take precautions to ensure the water pipes do not freeze. Ensure they have plenty of food and water and are not overly exposed to the extreme cold. Know the temperature threshold of plants and crops.
For those who are traveling, have at least a half a tank of gas so that you can stay warm if you become stranded. Dress for the outdoors even if you don’t plan to spend much time outside.
If you are interested in donating money or items to help others stay warm, call the Christian Mission at (334) 393-2607.