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.
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.
“We haven’t had a winter in the last 15 years like this,” Lombardy said.
With the stretch of cold weather, communities are issuing parking bans and authorities are urging residents to watch out for the elderly, the homeless and pets and animals.
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 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.