Strafford County Warming Center Opens as Wind Chill Dips Below Zero
A regional warming center opened Monday night as temperatures were expected to dip down to about 10 degrees and remain bitterly cold throughout the next few days.
Volunteers are being sought to help run the Strafford County Extreme Cold Weather Warming Center at 30 Willand Drive in Somersworth.
“The directors made the decision to activate the Warming Center due to a forecast of life-threatening cold temperatures beginning [Monday night] that will likely diminish the availability of existing shelter space,” emergency directors from Dover, Rochester and Somersworth said in a joint statement.
Monday night was expected to be bitterly cold, according to the National Weather Service, with temperatures dipping down toward 10 degrees and winds around 15-25 mph, which could have a real feel of about -8.
Temperatures are expected to rebound Tuesday with a high of 25 degrees, but the wind will continue to blow between 15-25 mph keeping the real feel temperature at about -10 degrees. The low Tuesday is expected to drop to 20 degrees, and the wind will die down slightly with gusts up to 25 mph.
On Wednesday, the temperature is expected to climb above freezing with a high of 43.
The Warming Center will remain open from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. each night through Wednesday morning. Anyone seeking to warm up may arrive anytime between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m., the emergency directors said. Referrals or reservations are not required. COVID-19 coronavirus precautions are in place, including hand hygiene, social distancing, and required masking. Cots are available at the Warming Center.
Volunteers are needed to assist with tasks, like set-up and take-down, client check-in, laundry, cleaning and client engagement. For more information and to sign up for a shift, visit here.
Partners and municipalities are asked to help transport at-risk or unsheltered people to the warming center when possible because the center staff will be unable to take people to or from the center.
COAST Bus also has agreed to take anyone on their way to the center to the closest bus stops at no cost. On Bus Route 1, the nearest stop is the Holy Trinity Church at 404 High St. in Somersworth. On Bus Route 12, the closest stop is Key Buick GMC of Somersworth, located at 155 Route 108 in Somersworth.
If you need help with basic emergency needs contact the welfare departments in your community.
- Dover: The public welfare department is at the McConnell Center, 61 Locust St. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (603) 516-6500. For those who need assistance after hours, call Police Dispatch at 742-4646.
- Somersworth: The Welfare / Human Services department is at City Hall, 1 Government Way. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (603) 692-9509.
- Rochester: The Municipal Welfare Department is at City Hall, 31 Wakefield St. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (603) 332-3505.
- New Hampshire residents may also dial 211 in the state anytime, day or night, to help locate critical resources.
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