Now through noon Sunday, a warming station at Dawson County’s Rock Creek Park Gym will be open during the frigid winter weather predicted for this weekend.
Rock Creek Park Gym’s will be open from 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 25, according to an updated post on the Dawson County Government’s Facebook page.
Rock Creek Park is located at 445 Martin Road, off of Ga. 9 in southern Dawson County.
“Those in need of emergency shelter may bring their own blankets, sleeping bags and pre–packaged snacks,” the county’s press release stated.
People interested in helping with donations are encouraged to give only clean or new blankets or sleeping bags, bottled water and pre-packaged snacks. The gym isn’t equipped to reheat or cook food.
Donations were dropped off at the Rock Creek Park Gym on Dec. 21 and 22. Unused items will be donated to The Place at Ric-Rack, the press release stated.
Parks and Recreation will have a coffee station and WiFi available.
People are encouraged to bring other necessities like phone, laptop chargers or camp chairs with them to the warming shelter.
Except for trained service dogs, pets will not be allowed. As well, park basketball courts will be closed.
The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office plans to make routine physical checks and maintain greater visibility and presence in the area of the warming station this weekend, said Sheriff Jeff Johnson.
People who are medically fragile or on oxygen are encouraged to plan ahead and notify the Dawson County Fire Department and Emergency Services if they need assistance, according to an updated Dawson County Facebook post.
People with medical needs or their loved ones can call the non-emergency Fire & EMS number at (706) 344-3636 to help prepare for the inclement weather.
On Wednesday, Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for all of Georgia’s counties. This declaration makes state resources available to local governments and entities across the state, according to a Dec. 21 press release.
As of noon Saturday, The Weather Channel showed temperatures between the 'teens and 20s degrees Fahrenheit for the duration of the day, with the wind chill making it feel close to 0 degrees.
Flash freezing, which can make driving on area roadways hazardous, is also predicted through Saturday.
Temperatures are expected to finally reach above freezing on Christmas Day, with a high of 35 degrees and a low of 17.
On Saturday morning, Sawnee EMC issued a message to customers advising them to reduce their residential electrical usage.
Brine operations are underway in northwest Georgia and will begin in metro Atlanta and northeast Georgia at 7 a.m. Thursday, according to a Georgia Department of Transportation press release Wednesday.
Brine operations will continue all day Thursday and into Friday as needed, with the likelihood that most routes will be treated at least twice.
Crews will begin salting metro Atlanta interstates and state routes Thursday evening. Crews will work 12-hour shifts and prioritize treating interstates, state routes, bridges and overpasses.
GDOT will be closing all express lanes at midnight Thursday and reopen lanes as conditions allow.
Motorists are asked to limit travel Thursday into Friday morning. Those who must travel are asked to give GDOT crews room and to be aware brine trucks must travel 40 mph to properly apply the treatment. Drivers should stay back at least 100 feet from brine trucks.
Dawson County Family Connection Coordinator Rebecca Bliss provided a graphic with a range of cold weather emergency resources, such as a local food bank calendar and contacts for needs including financial assistance, transportation and/or shelter.
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency included a preparedness checklist with its Dec. 21 press release.
Tips include but are not limited to:
Make a three-day ready kit with items like extra batteries, a first aid kit with extra medicine and any baby or special needs items.
Plan to check on elderly or disabled relatives and neighbors.
Stay hydrated, and stock food that doesn’t require cooking or refrigeration.
Bring your pets inside.
Let water faucets drip a little during cold weather, and open cabinet doors to let heat get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances.
For more suggestions and preparedness tips, you can go to GEMA’s webpage here.
Note: GDOT information was compiled from the Times staff reports. The Gainesville Times is a sister publication of DCN. DCN will update this story as more information becomes available.