Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 3, 2014

Community prepares for cold spell

BY TONY HUFFMAN Daily News
Effingham Daily News

---- — Area businesses and social service providers are bracing for another round of bitter cold and snow that is in the forecast for the weekend and into next week.

“There was a surge of cold air from Canada Wednesday night, with another one coming Sunday,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Patrick Bak. “Monday and Tuesday will be very cold.”

Bak predicted that a snowfall Sunday will be equivalent to the precipitation yesterday, which ranged from three to six inches around the area. The weekend snowfall will be accompanied by single digit temperatures early next week, with overnight lows below zero.

“With the exception of a few bump-ups (in temperature), this cold snap looks to last a few weeks,” said Bak.

The Effingham County Senior Citizens Center has received several calls related to the snowfall affecting the home delivery of meals, said Director Jean Bohnhoff, adding that the service is actually provided by CEFS.

“We are a focal point in the senior community,” said Bohnhoff.

In past years, the senior center has paid for the repair of frozen pipes and put seniors in hotels if their heat wasn’t working. Bohnhoff urged seniors to come into the senior center if they need a warm place to stay during the day. They have extended their hours to 4 p.m. for that purpose. Bohnhoff urged seniors to call if they need assistance related to the cold. Seniors can contact the center at 217-347-5569.

Meals are still being delivered despite the inclement weather, said Debbie Weber, project director of Golden Circle Nutrition Program. Weber added that if they temporarily cancel the delivery service, which serves about 195 people daily in Effingham County, CEFS site managers contact homes to check on seniors.

“If a senior doesn’t have any food, we figure out a way to get them a meal,” said Weber.

There is a congregate center run by CEFS at the Ron Diehl Center open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for seniors to keep warm, visit and do various activities

If a senior has another issue related to the weather, CEFS connects those in need to the appropriate resource, added Weber. Seniors can contact CEFS at 217-347-7514.

In winter weather, outdoor pets also need to be remembered. Dr. Sam Walton from Walton and Haarman Veterinary Clinic said some pet owners need to check where their animals are sleeping.

“They shouldn’t be sleeping on concrete,” he said. “They need to be sleeping on something else, whether it is some straw, plywood, anything so they’re not in direct contact with concrete.”

Walton said hanging a lightbulb in a doghouse could also help to keep pets warm and advised keeping animals out of the wind as well as making sure water doesn’t freeze for long periods of time. Doing so can keep thirsty pets from developing salt poisoning.

Local retailers that sell outdoor goods have seen an influx in shoppers coping with the weather.

“This always brings them out,” said Deb Pryor, an employee at Effingham Equity. “People are coming in for the salt or the feed for the animals. They want to stock up and make sure they are going to have some actual feed.”

Pryor added that they have had customers scheduling propane tank refills in anticipation of the arctic weather.

“We have people calling in for fuel,” said Pryor. “They’re kind of planning ahead.”

At Rural King, they have plenty of scrapers, shovels, ice melt and generators still in stock, said Troy Hormann, assistant manager at Rural King.

“I figured we were going to get snow, just not this much,” said Hormann.

Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or tony.huffman@effinghamdailynews.com.