COLUMBIA — In anticipation of winter weather, the Health Department reminds Columbia residents of places to find shelter from inclement weather.
The good news for those out in the cold is that there is about a 33 percent chance that temperatures in the next three months will not be as cold as in previous years. Jim Kramper, National Weather Service meteorologist, said it's even more likely the weather will stay the same.
The Health Department also provided tips for staying safe and warm in the cold:
- Go indoors and get warm if you notice yourself shivering.
- Watch for warning signs of hypothermia: cold, confusion, drowsiness, clumsiness and exhaustion.
- Know the symptoms of frostbite: tingling, numbness, white or grayish-yellow areas of skin and skin that feels waxy. Frostbite affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes.
- Walk carefully on icy streets.
- Avoid driving on ice-covered roads, overpasses and bridges.
- Limit children's outdoor time, and watch for signs of frostbite or hypothermia.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors — including elderly, ill or those without sufficient utilities — who might be vulnerable to cold-related injury or illness.
- Keep pets warm, too, and make sure they have fresh water and supplies if they must stay outside.
- If you become stranded in your car, put on extra clothes and stay inside.
For those times when it cools off, people can use the public areas, such as lobbies and restrooms, of these places during normal business hours:
- Activity and Recreation Center, 1707 W. Ash St., 874-7700
- Armory Sports and Community Center, 701 E. Ash St., 874-7466
- Boone County Government Center, 801 E. Walnut St., 886-4305
- Columbia/Boone City Department of Public Health and Human Services, 1005 W. Worley St., 874-7488
- Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway, 443-3161
- Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. Ninth St., 443-3111
- Salvation Army, 1108 W. Ash St., 442-3229
- Salvation Army Harbor House, 602 N. Ann St., 442-1984
- St. Francis House, 901 Range Line St., 875-4913
These places provide sleeping accommodations for those in need:
- New Life Evangelistic Center (for men), 901 Wilkes Blvd., 875-0603
- Rainbow House (for children/youth), 1611 Towne Drive, 474-3558
- Salvation Army Harbor House (for men, women and families), 602 N. Ann St., 442-1984
- St. Francis House (for men), 901 Range Line St., 875-4913
- True North (for victims of domestic violence), 875-1369
- Welcome Home (for veterans), 1206 Range Line St., 443-8001
The Public Health and Human Services Department also provides utilities assistance to Boone County residents. The Heat Energy and Light Program provides one-time emergency assistance to low-income families with young children. Citizens Assisting Seniors and Handicapped provides emergency assistance to low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
For more information on Warming Centers or the utility assistance programs, go to the City of Columbia website at gocolumbiamo.com.