MERRILLVILLE — Bitterly cold weather that arrived Christmas morning has now nestled into the Region for the rest of the week, heightening people’s risk for frostbite and hypothermia.
A wind chill advisory will be in effect from midnight Tuesday through noon Wednesday, with wind chills as low as minus 19 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
People are advised to wear a hat and gloves because frostbite in extreme cold can happen in a matter of minutes, especially with uncovered skin and on the extremities, such as hands and feet.
On Thursday, expect a 40 percent chance of snow with a high near 17 degrees. There’s a higher chance for snow during the overnight hours and additional snow expected Friday after noon and a high of 18, according to the weather service.
Dangerously cold wind chills are expected to return this weekend.
The National Weather Service advised drivers to have at least half a tank of gas during extreme cold weather events so the car can keep you warm if you are stranded.
During the winter months, drivers should keep in their car a “winter survival kit,” that includes an ice scraper, blankets, extra clothing, flashlights, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, food, water, a basic toolkit, a shovel, cat litter or sand for better tire traction, and blankets, according to the weather service.
For those with children or pets, remember to include pet supplies or baby supplies.
Local government agencies have dozens of designated warming centers throughout Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. People can contact their local government, police and fire stations, and local non-emergency dispatch for information. The Times posts a list of warming shelters at nwitimes.com. If you see a location not listed, or one no longer functioning as a warming center, email Times editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Porter County Sheriff Sgt. Jamie Erow encouraged people to call 211 from a Northwest Indiana area code if they need assistance.
Erow said a list of churches — Valparaiso Mennonite, First United Methodist, Liberty Bible Church, First Presbyterian, Grace New Testament and Valparaiso Nazarene — are available as shelters on a rotating schedule. To learn more about the churches’ rotating schedule, Erow asked families to call dispatch directly at 219-477-3170.
“When an officer comes across a family in need or a family calls our dispatch center for assistance, the dispatcher can make a call to the specific coordinator for that given night to make arrangements,” Erow said. “Fire departments that are housed (24 hours) can provide assistance.”
In a news release Tuesday, the city of Hobart urged neighbors to check on one another, especially the elderly.
The Community Room at Fire Station No. 2, 2411 W. Old Ridge Road, serves as a 24-hour warming station, the release said.
From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the meeting room in the east lobby of the PCC Building, 701 W. 4th St. is available.
Gary police have urged people never to use their stoves as an alternative heating source following last week’s tragic death of a 72-year-old woman in the city’s Brunswick neighborhood.
The woman, Tina Hoskins, died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning from her oven after firefighters arrived to her home last week to find an oven “in the off position but hot to the touch.”
A 5-year-old girl who was in the home at the time was taken to the hospital in critical condition.