Another brutal cold stretch prompts warnings for elderly, homeless, animals

By David Skolnick


It will take until the end of the week before the Mahoning Valley sees temperatures above the freezing mark.

Until then, the area is likely in for a brutally cold stretch that includes expected lows around minus 10 on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Kirk Lombardy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Cleveland.

“When we get up to 40 degrees, it will feel like a heat wave,” he said.

The area had about 4 to 7 inches of snow Saturday, but after a high of 27, the temperature dropped at night into the single digits and below zero in some places.

The temperature today is supposed to reach 21 degrees by midafternoon with about 2 more inches of snow by midnight.

The wind chill will be as low as minus 5 tonight.

That might seem pleasant compared with the first few days of the workweek, Lombardy said.

The high for Monday is expected to be 14 degrees with a low of minus 12, which would shatter the current record for a low Jan. 27 — minus 5 in 2003. The wind chill is expected to drop to 27 below zero.

The area already has had two record low temperatures this month — Jan. 6 at minus 11 and Jan. 7 at minus 12.

On Tuesday, the high will be zero and a low of minus 10 with wind chills of 30 below zero.

Wednesday’s forecast has the temperature as high as 10 degrees and a low of minus 10 with wind chills, like Tuesday, of 30 below.

“It’s not much of an improvement,” Lombardy said.

The area is supposed to have a high of 22 on Thursday, dropping to 10 above zero at night, he said.

“On Friday, we may see temperatures above freezing,” Lombardy said. “We haven’t had a winter in the last 15 years like this.”

The average high for this time of the year is 33 degrees, which has been surpassed only once, last Monday at 34 degrees, since Jan. 18.

During the first 25 days of 2014, the low has been below zero six times and in the single digits five other times.

The average temperature for January, so far is about 21 degrees, about five degrees lower than the average for this area for this month.

The National Weather Service keeps official weather records for the Mahoning Valley at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna.

With the stretch of cold weather, the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley is seeing at least 150 people coming to its Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard location each night, said Shane White, a client aide at the facility.

“We’re not turning people away,” he said. “We can get people into the chapel. We’re trying to get as many people off the streets as we can.”

Normal capacity for the shelter is 96.

The community has responded well to the mission’s request for donations of pillows, fitted sheets, blankets and winter coats, he said.

Also, Animal Charity Human Society is urging pet and animal owners to bring all their animals indoors, even if they are primarily outside pets.

The agency is distributing free hay to keep dogs warm in outdoor shelters. Workers will also be doing wellness checks to ensure the safety of pets that are stuck outside.

Owners are reminded that all animals must have shelter as well as food and (unfrozen) water available at all times. Animals found without any of those can subject the owners to prosecution.

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