Town, State Officials Issue Cold Weather Statements
After a downright balmy December, Connecticut is finally experiencing very cold weather for the first time this season. Evening temperatures for Monday, January 4, are expected to dip down to 6 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. North winds of 11-15 mph, with gusts ranging up to 26 mph, could make the wind chill values feel more like 5 to -5 degrees.
With this in mind, First Selectman Pat Llodra and the Town of Newtown Emergency Management Office are urging residents to be prepared for severe cold weather. A press release issued late Monday afternoon by the town officials asks that every Newtown resident “make appropriate preparations to ensure personal safety and readiness.
“We ask that you please check on any elderly or frail neighbors to be certain they are doing OK in this weather,” the officials said, addition that residents should also “make appropriate provisions to protect your pets. Please review your preparedness.”
A basic Emergency Kit should include one gallon of bottled water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation; at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for you and your pet; a three-day supply of prescription medication; a battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both; a flashlight and extra batteries; a first-aid kit; a whistle (to signal for help); moist towelettes; plastic trash bags and ties (for personal sanitation); a wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities); a manual can opener; local maps; a cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger; and extra fuel (stored in a safe container) for a power generator.
Residents can visit a number of public locations this week to seek relief from the cold:
Newtown Municipal Center, within Fairfield Hills at 3 Primrose Street, will be open as a warming center for any resident who needs relief from the cold. The center will remain open through evening hours, closing at 9:30 pm.
Newtown Senior Center, 14 Riverside Road in Sandy Hook, will be open weekdays from 8 am until 4:30 pm (call 203-270-4310 for additional information).
C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street in Newtown, is open Monday through Thursday, 9:30 am-8 pm; Friday, 11 am-5 pm; Saturday, 9:30 am-5 pm; and Sunday, 12-5 pm (telephone 203-426-4533).
Earlier on Monday, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced he has activated the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol in anticipation of temperatures in the teens and single digits and wind chills below zero overnight. The protocol went into effect the afternoon of Monday, January 4, and will remain in effect through the morning of Tuesday, January 5.
The governor on Monday said that while the state has experienced “mild temperatures over the past several weeks, the new year has brought some cold weather. I am activating our severe cold weather protocol to initiate essential services to protect our most vulnerable.
“Anyone in need of shelter is urged to call 211 to find the nearest shelter or warming center,” Gov Malloy added.
While activated, the protocol directs the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and the Department of Housing (DOH) to coordinate with 211 and Connecticut’s network of shelters to ensure that the state’s most vulnerable populations are protected from the severe cold weather.
Under the protocol, the DESPP’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security activates its WebEOC communications network, an Internet-based system that enables local, regional and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions. The system is used to monitor capacity at shelters across the state, enabling 211 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it.
Local officials, working through WebEOC, can alert 211 and the state when they open temporary shelters or warming centers.
DSS and DOH coordinate with 211 and the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness in working with community-based providers to provide transportation for people seeking shelter.
DMHAS deploys teams that specialize in working with homeless people to locate those who are at risk, spread the word about the 2-1-1 system, and encourage them to take shelter. It also works with shelters to assess and meet the needs of individual clients.
As of 5 pm Monday, the National Weather Service (NWS) is calling for the cold weather to continue into Tuesday.
January 5 is predicted to be a sunny one, but with a high of only 24 degrees. Wind chill values will be between 5 and –5 thanks to a north wind of 7-9 mph. The wind is expected to calm by Tuesday night, which will be clear with a low of around 10 degrees.
Due to the current and expected weather conditions, NWS has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook at 3:41 Monday afternoon for southern Connecticut, northeast New Jersey and southeast New York.
Important Numbers & Contact Information
Town officials also remind all residents to keep the following telephone numbers handy, in the event of an emergency:
If there is a Life Safety Emergency, call 911;
Power Outage, call Eversource, 800-286-2000
Residents are reminded of the town’s free CodeRED program, which is a computerized system that rapidly makes automated telephone calls to residents, providing them with recorded messages in times of emergency; registration for the free program can be done at the town’s website (newtown-ct.gov) or call 203-270-4370 for assistance;
Residents can also sign up for Smart 911, also free, which creates an online safety profile that can be filled out in advance to provide information to dispatchers; register at newtown-ct.gov just below the Code Red emblem.
Check News and Announcements on the main page of Town website. Residents can also register there to receive news (click on Subscribe to News).
Connecticut’s free information and referral service, call 211 or visit 211ct.org.
First Selectman’s office, 203-270-4201
Emergency Management/Fire Marshal, 203-270-4370
Health District, 203-270-4291