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February 6, 2014

Freezing temperatures, wind chill expected throughout weekend for Norman residents

NORMAN — Norman residents will likely wake up to another inch or two of snow this morning. Temperatures are expected to reach no higher than 16 degrees today.

Wind chill in the morning could be as low as 9 degrees below zero, warming to zero around noon, according to Michael Scotten, National Weather Service Senior forecaster.

“When it’s very cold outside with very low wind chills, it’s important to prevent hypothermia by dressing warmly, wearing a heavy coat, hat and gloves,” Scotten said.

Temperatures will remain cold through the weekend, Scotten said, with another chance of snow on Friday. Highs in the 30s are expected for Saturday and Sunday, with lows in the teens.

Those extreme cold temperatures are particularly tough on Norman’s homeless population.

“Last night was crippling,” Food and Shelter Executive Director April Doshier said Wednesday. “We used every inch of our building to squeeze in as many people in as possible, and, unfortunately, it’s just not enough space to get everyone off the street.”

Doshier said between 90 and 100 people live on Norman streets. Food and Shelter can only provide shelter for about 40 people — leaving as many as 40 or 50 people who might not have shelter.

“The only alternative we have is to give people as much winter weather gear as possible to try to keep the wind off of their skin,” Doshier said. “We’ve been operating pretty much 24 hours a day during the winter so people can get in from the cold, at least for a few hours.”

Doshier said warm drinks and coffee are needed at the local shelter, as is warm weather gear.

“We could definitely use good, thick blankets and sleeping bags to help people who can’t get into a shelter,” she said. “I just really know and believe in my heart that Norman is better than this, so that next winter we’re not saying, ‘We’re sorry, you didn’t get here in time and now we don’t have bed space for you.’”

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