Severe cold increases shelter needs in Ohio

By Dan Sewell - Associated Press

CINCINNATI (AP) — Severe cold and bone-chilling winds gripped most of Ohio on Thursday, and authorities scrambled to provide shelter for those needing it.

Temperatures climbed out of morning low single digits, although wind-chill readings remained around zero in some areas. Bitter cold, with light snowfall, is expected to return this weekend as a weather system sweeps the state.

The Sidney Salvation Army is expected to open a warming shelter Jan. 2 in Sidney.

The city of Cleveland said four recreation centers would remain open as warming centers over a 48-hour period. Officials said they would re-evaluate needs on Saturday.

Cleveland said other recreation centers could be used to get warm during regular business hours. The Cincinnati Recreation Commission said all 22 city rec centers were open Thursday for warming during regular hours.

Hamilton County authorities were investigating the cause of death for a homeless man found early Tuesday at a downtown bus stop in Cincinnati.

The Ohio Department of Aging reminds that older people are at increased risk from such severe cold, from medication side effects to falling risks. The department urges people to check on family, friends and neighbors to make sure they’re warm enough, and have their needed medications and sufficient food and water.

Authorities also say as winter worsens, all Ohioans should have a three-day emergency plan in case they’re stranded in their homes.

The Cincinnati Police Department reported a water main break downtown Thursday morning and said a salt truck was dispatched. Police urged drivers in the meantime to slow down to “avoid becoming medalists in Olympic Ice Ballet!”

By Dan Sewell

Associated Press

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