SYLACAUGA, Ala. – With the city of Sylacauga bracing for a harsh winter freeze over the next few days, plans are being made to help keep community members warm and travel safely as they gather with friends and family this holiday weekend.
According to the Weather.com forecast for Sylacauga, the temperatures Thursday are currently expected to be at a high of 59 degrees through the day before plummeting to a low of 17 degrees tomorrow night.
A 60 percent chance of rain means it is likely that the roads will be icy and slick Friday morning. The temperature are not supposed to rise above freezing until Monday morning, Dec. 26.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) recently posted its “12 Days of Safety” notice alerting drivers to the dangers of traveling during the holidays. ALEA will take measures to keep traffic regulated and safe, but with roads expected to be under extremely icy conditions, their efforts to ensure safety will greatly increase.
In downtown Sylacauga, a warming center at First Baptist Church will be available to those in need starting Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. and going until Monday when the temperatures have risen to appropriate levels.
Sylacauga Police Department Chaplain Mark Ledbetter is heading the efforts of the warming center.
“We ask that people have patience because these are not circumstances that we always encounter,” Ledbetter said. “We need volunteers. This will be prolonged, and if you go over three or four days, you can’t have the same people staying all the time. We need plenty of volunteers to help us man this station to see that it works effectively.”
First Baptist Church in Sylacauga is located at the corner of Fort Williams St. and Broadway Ave. The warming center is located at the upper entrance of the church facing Fort Williams.
If you’d like to volunteer as a greeter, registrar, food distributor, or in another capacity, you can contact Chaplain Ledbetter at (256) 626-9627, Councilman Nate Brewer at (256) 404-3319, or First Baptist Church at (256) 245-6301.
Additionally, for those already with a place to shelter during the freeze, Alabama Power has provided some energy-saving tips to keep costs down.
1. Winner, winner oven dinner – If you’ve got an electric stove, cooking with your oven saves more energy than with your range. Get creative with your menus and look for delicious, oven-based recipes.
2. Sun’s out. Savings up – Open all your window treatments during the day to take advantage of the sun’s natural warmth and light to help heat your home.
3. Let your dishwasher do the work – Washing dishes by hand actually uses more energy (and water…and time) than your dishwasher. Also, try the “energy saving” mode before running it.
4. Savings go up when the garage door goes down – You might be surprised at how often someone at your house leaves the garage door open. Make sure you and your family keep it (and other external doors) closed to better seal your home this winter.
5. Close the lid on savings – From soups to that tall pitcher of lemonade, remind your fam to cover all liquids before sticking them in the fridge. When moisture is drawn into the air, the appliance works harder and uses more energy.
6. Night lights are bright ideas – Sometimes kiddos young (and old) need a little light at night. Using night lights saves more energy than overhead hall or room lights.
7. Set up your appliances for savings – Your fridge and freezer might be working harder than they have to. The FDA recommends 37° to 40° on your fridge and 0° for your freezer as optimal settings. Those adjustments can help you save.
8. Before you bounce, turn it down – Turn down for what? Savings. Before walking out your door, adjust your thermostat to 68 degrees or cooler. No need to heat an empty house while you’re gone.
9. Retire your old air filter – Breathe better by routinely swapping out your HVAC air filters based on product recommendations and your unit’s requirements. Set your own calendar reminders for once a month, once every three months, etc.
10. Give your clothes the cold shoulder – Wash your clothes with cold water. Many detergents are formulated to give your clothes the same clean with cold water as hot water.
11. Make space for portable heaters – If you spend a lot of your day in a single room — like working from your home office — turn your house thermostat down and use a space heater to keep you cozy. Pro Tip: Models that are thermostat-controlled use less energy.
12. Less is more when using detergent – Be sure you’re matching the amount of your detergent to your load size. (You’ll easily find this info on the package.) Using too much detergent causes build-up in the machine, which makes it run less efficiently.