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Artic air mass cools down Pinellas
Cold shelters opening Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights
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Wind chill values near freezing may keep Pinellas County residents indoors at night through Saturday. Those venturing out are advised to dress in layers to stay warm.
Wind chill values near freezing may keep Pinellas County residents indoors at night through Saturday. Those venturing out are advised to dress in layers to stay warm.

Cold weather shelters are opening throughout the county for those with no place warm to spend the night.

Freeze and hard freeze watches are in effect along the nature coast and most of Tampa Bay, except Pinellas County. Still, overnight temperatures are expected to drop to around 40 degrees tonight and Thursday night with a forecast low of about 37 Friday night.

“We encourage all Floridians to practice cold weather safety and to protect themselves and their property from risks posed by portable heating sources and open burning, Amy Godsey, state meteorologists said in a press release sent out Wednesday afternoon.

Freeze and hard freeze warning are in effect for 61 of the state’s 67 counties. Frost is possible across a large portion of central and south Florida.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to practice cold weather safety.

1. Stay indoors and use safe heating sources

2. Be aware of the fire danger from space heaters and candles. Keep such devices away from all flammable materials such as curtains and furniture. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

3. Do no use charcoal or other fuel-burning devices, such as grills that that produce carbon monoxide, indoors.

4. If outdoors, stay in dry and wind-protected areas.

5. Wear multiple layers or loose-fitting, warming clothing.

6. Drink non-alcoholic fluids.

7. Shelter or bring inside animals, especially pets.

Wind chill values in the mid-30s are expected in Pinellas County tonight and tomorrow night with values dropping to the low-30s Friday night.

Cold weather shelters opening

Cold night shelters will be opening Wednesday night. Shelters open at 6 p.m. and close at 6 a.m. People seeking shelter will be served a hot evening meal, a warm place to spend the night and breakfast the next morning.

Shelters for adult men and women:

- Clearwater Primary Shelter: Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, 110 S. Ft. Harrison Ave.; capacity 75. Church Phone: 727-442-3677.

- Clearwater Back-up Shelter: St. Cecelia Catholic Church, 820 Jasmine Way; capacity 45. Church Phone: 727-447-3494

- Pinellas Park: Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast in Pinellas Park, 7790 61st St. N.; capacity, 150. Phone: 727-574-5437. Transportation to and from this shelter and downtown St. Petersburg will be provided by Boley Inc.

- St. Petersburg: Northwest Presbyterian Church, 6330 54th Ave. N., St. Petersburg; capacity 75. Church phone: 727-544-4551.

- St. Petersburg: Salvation Army, 1400 Fourth St. S., capacity 25. Phone: 727-822-4954

- St. Petersburg: The Turning Point, 1810 Fifth Ave. N.; capacity, 25. Phone: 727-823-7811

- Tarpon Springs: St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, 812 E. Tarpon Ave.; capacity 25. Phone: 727-479-2914

Families with children will be placed in motels on cold nights. To arrange for shelter, call Sarah Snyder at 727-424-1355 (cell), 727-528-5762 (office) or Cliff Smith at 727-698-1809 (cell) or 727-893-7627 (office).

Looking ahead

Saturday is forecast to be mostly sunny with a high in the mid-60s with a low near 50. A chance of rain on Sunday accompanies a high of around 68 and a low of 55. Rain chances continue into Monday with a high that day in the low-70s and a low around 49. Mostly sunny to sunny skies are in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday with highs in the low- to mid-60s and low in the 40s.
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