SARASOTA COUNTY - A cold weather advisory issued by the National Weather Service has Sarasota County Emergency Management officials reminding residents to prepare for colder than usual conditions by taking precautions to protect their homes, families and pets.
The current forecast has minimum temperatures late Wednesday night in the mid-to upper 30s for all of Sarasota County. A wind chill in the mid-to upper 30s is also expected for the entire County.
Sarasota County Emergency Management has coordinated with city public safety officials, the Salvation Army, Grace United Methodist Church in Venice and New Hope Community Church in North Port to provide cold weather sheltering for those in need.
The following shelter locations will be open Wednesday evening:
North County: Sarasota Salvation Army Center of Hope, 1400 10th St., Sarasota, FL 34236
The Salvation Army's front porch opens at 4 p.m., with check-in expected to begin at 6:30 p.m.
South County: Venice/North Port
Grace United Methodist Church, 400 Field Ave., East, Venice, FL 34285, opens at 6 p.m.
New Hope Community Church, 5600 S. Biscayne Drive, North Port, FL 34287, opens at 8 p.m.
Pets should not be left outside during the cold weather. Citizens who need to be outside overnight or during the early morning hours are encouraged to dress in several warm layers and limit skin exposure to the wind.
Fire officials advise citizens to use caution when heating their home, as the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning increase during very cold weather due to the improper use of heating devices, so extreme caution is advised.
"Never use propane or gas heaters indoors and be sure that electric space heaters are free from obstructions and are not located where they can be knocked over by children or pets," said Michael Regnier, Sarasota County Fire Chief. "Never leave a lighted candle unattended, and always keep all flammable objects away from any heating devices."
For more information visit the county's website at www.scgov.net, keyword "All Hazards."