MICHIGAN CITY — With single-digit temperatures and below-zero wind chills expected, city officials are urging residents to take care of themselves, their families and pets in the bitter cold.
Mayor Duane Parry is urging residents to check on family, friends, neighbors, pets, and especially the elderly during the extreme cold forecast for Friday to ensure everyone stays healthy and safe.
The National Weather Service said overnight temperatures were expected to drop to about 9 degrees, but northwest winds of 10-20 mph would make it feel like -5.
Friday wasn’t going to warm much, with a high of 14 expected, and temps were again expected to fall to 10 degrees Friday night with wind gusts to 25 mph.
The mayor is also reminding citizens that several warming centers will be open Friday and throughout the winter season. Residents needing a break from the cold can stop in at:
Michigan City Police Station (24 hours), 1201 E. Michigan Blvd.
Michigan City Fire Administration Building (8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday), 2510 E. Michigan Blvd.
Michigan City Senior Center (8 a.m.-4 p,m,, Monday-Friday), 2 on the Lake
City Hall (8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday), 100 E. Michigan Blvd.
Michigan City Public Library (during regular business hours), 100 E. 4th St.
Keys to Hope Community Resource Center (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday), 1802 Franklin Street
The mayor urges everyone to be prepared for cold outbreaks, adding that extreme weather can cause power outages, so have an emergency plan that includes pets. An emergency kit should include enough food, water, and medication to last you and your pets at least five days.
As for those pets, Parry reminds pet-owners to keep their animals safe this winter:
Know your dog’s limits: Some are more susceptible to cold, especially short-coated, thin, elderly, or very young dogs, so adjust the amount of time they stay outside.
Check the hood: Cats often sleep in the wheel wells of cars to keep warm. If you start your car and a cat is sleeping on your tire, it can be severely hurt or even killed by moving engine parts. Bang loudly on your hood or honk the horn before starting your car to wake up the cat and give it a chance to escape.
Wipe paws: During winter walks, a dog’s paws can pick up all kinds of toxic chemicals – salt, antifreeze, or de-icers – along with ice and snow. Be sure to wipe off paws when you return from walks to prevent them from licking and becoming sick.
Keep them leashed: More pets become lost in winter than any other season because snow can disguise the scents that would normally help them find their way home.
Leave them home: Just as hot cars are dangerous for pets in summer, cold cars pose a threat. Only take your pets in the car if necessary, and never leave them unattended.
Give them shelter: Ideally, pets should live inside. If your pets stay outdoors primarily, bring them indoors anyway during sub-zero temperatures. Provide a dry, draft-free shelter large enough to allow them to sit and lie comfortably, but small enough to conserve body heat.
Avoid spills: Antifreeze attracts cats and dogs because it is very sweet to taste, but extremely poisonous. Be sure to clean up any antifreeze that spills in your garage and keep the bottle somewhere pets cannot access.