By TOM GIAMBRONI
LISBON - Here we go again.
For the second time this month temperatures are expected to plunge well below zero for an extended period, and like before, local first responders stand ready to help, if necessary.
"We're all on standby," said Luke Newbold, director of the Columbiana County Emergency Management Agency.
Newbold said the Wellsville Central Methodist Church at 1000 Main St. agreed to serve as a public warming station through Tuesday, while the following places will also open as warming stations if the need arises: Salineville Fire Department, East Liverpool City Hall, Franklin Township Fire Hall in Summitville, and the EMA building in Lisbon. He said Salem and other communities stand poised to do likewise should the need arise, while the local chapter of the American Red Cross will open a shelter if there should be widespread power outages.
"Obviously, if we start getting a lot of people (without power) we'll open a shelter," he said.
The temperature was expected to reach 14 below zero last night and rise to only 2 degrees today before dropping to minus 11 Tuesday night.
During the Jan. 6-7 cold snap more than 3,000 households were without electricity at one time or another, mostly in the Lisbon-Hanoverton area, prompting the Red Cross to open a shelter in Lisbon. Power in most instances was restored within three to four hours, and no one ended up using the shelter.
"The majority of people have family to to go, but if you don't, don't hesitate to call for assistance," Newbold said. The EMA's number is 330-424-9725, or can be followed online at www.ccema.org or Twitter at "Columbiana CTY EMA."
The sporadic outages were caused by increased demand for electricity that overloaded the power grid, and Newbold said the same thing is expected to occur this time. He encouraged residents to conserve energy when possible by not using non-essential electronic devices and household appliances.
The colder-than-usual winter was also resulting in home heating fuel shortages. Newbold reported that Saline Oil, which has 350 to 400 customers in the Salineville-Summitville area were out of propane, but another shipment of fuel was scheduled to arrive on Thursday. About 10 to 15 of those customers have fuel supplies of 5 percent or less, but the Salineville and Franklin Township fire departments stand ready to assist.
"All fuel providers are low throughout the nation, so they're trying to get everyone to conserve," he said.