The County of Sonoma is issuing a freeze alert in response to the National Weather Service’s prediction of sub-freezing temperatures overnight tonight through Sunday morning. Officials recommend that residents limit time outdoors as serious medical conditions including hypothermia and frostbite can develop with prolonged exposure to cold weather.
Individuals who are unhoused are encouraged to move to the nearest shelter if possible. Winter shelters have expanded capacity on a first-come, first-served basis, with many providing wraparound services as well. The following locations are offering services and/or shelter:
- West County Community Services located at the former Bank of America building. Visit in-person for services and resources. More information can be found at: https://www.westcountyservices.org/emergency-winter-shelter/
- Caritas Center, 301 6th St. Suite 108, in Santa Rosa. Operating hours are 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., except on Saturday morning when it will remain open until 9 a.m. The warming center is a drop-in place to warm up and charge devices; it is not a shelter, and no cots for sleeping will be available.
- Social Advocates for Youth – Nightly shelter for youth ages 18-24 to escape the cold temperatures. Call the crisis line before 5 p.m. (1-888-729-0012) to reserve a spot or drop in at Coffee House Teen Shelter at 1243 Ripley St. in Santa Rosa before 5 p.m. to reserve a spot.
- Homeless Action Sonoma is operating a navigation center and warming station at 867 West Napa St. in Sonoma. The center is open from 2 p.m. until 10 a.m. seven days a week, for anyone who needs a place to get out of the wet and cold nights.
For the most up-to-date information about warming centers and the availability of shelter space around Sonoma County visit: https://socoemergency.org/emergency/extreme-cold/
Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia is a medical emergency that causes a dangerously low body temperature and can be fatal if untreated. Symptoms of hypothermia include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion, severe shivering, clumsiness, slurred speech or mumbling drowsiness, weak pulse, slow, shallow breathing and progressive loss of consciousness. Seek medical attention if you experience these symptoms.
Additional cold weather safety tips include:
- Drive slowly and be on the lookout for hazardous travel with slick road conditions including possible ponding on roads and freeway off-ramps and minor flooding in low-lying or poor drainage areas.
- Unsheltered community members, older adults, children and those with access and functional needs should seek shelter now as they are at higher risks of hypothermia.
- Avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day, or for extended periods of time in extreme cold weather.
- Dress in layers, wear a hat, scarf, gloves and mittens, and waterproof, insulated boots to avoid hypothermia or frostbite.
- Get out of wet clothes as soon as possible to reduce the risk of hypothermia.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water with electrolytes.
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and non-prescription medication if you will be staying outside as it may lead to death or serious injury.
- Seek medical attention immediately and call 911 if you see someone experiencing hypothermia.
For information on preparing for extreme cold visit: SoCoEmergency.org.
The photo was taken by the Sonoma Valley Fire District early Friday morning in Glen Ellen.