Wind chills could reach 40-below, warming centers open around area

Bitter cold will settle in over the Dayton area starting tonight, bringing dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills that will threaten to break five-decade old weather records.

A polar vortex will sink temperatures for the next few days, with today’s high reaching the teens before dropping overnight to below zero and residents waking up Wednesday morning to wind chills ranging from 25 to 35 below zero, according to WHIO Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs.

The extreme temperatures mean many public buildings will be opened to accommodate people who need to get out of the cold.

RELATED: Polar vortex this week reminds us of 2014’s 40 below zero wind chills

The frigid conditions will stick around all day Wednesday with highs hovering around zero. Similar conditions are expected Thursday, with high temps expected in the low to middle teens and wind chills in the range of 5 to 15 below zero, according to Vrydaghs.

She said some areas could see 40-below-zero wind chills, recalling a frigid stretch of days in January 2014.

“Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton all broke records for coldest daily low temperatures combined with spending more than 20 consecutive hours below zero,” she said of the polar vortex from 5 years ago. “It wasn’t just the cold, but more the wind chills, that made that outbreak so extreme.”

Record cold temperatures for the Dayton area were set in 1966, at 2 degrees for the high and minus-10 degrees for the low, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

The cities of Dayton and Moraine both have actions plans in the event of weather emergencies such as this.

Dayton’s recreation centers, on West Third Street, Glenarm Avenue and Princeton Drive, “are designed to allow citizens to find temporary relief … during their regular business hours,” said spokeswoman Toni Bankston.

“Extreme temperature sheltering actions will be enacted whenever Public Health-Dayton and Montgomery County declares a heat or cold emergency,” Bankston said.

In Moraine, fire officials on Monday notified the city’s parks department to open “warming centers” that will be available starting today through Friday, according to Kristen Gopman, Moraine’s director of parks and recreation.

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The Gerhardt Civic Center, 3050 Kreitzer Road, and the Payne Recreation Center, 3800 Main St., are designated as Moraine’s warming centers. The civic center is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the recreation center will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“People can come in and sit in the lobby to warm up. if there is a need for after hours accommodations, the fire department will be able to help after our regular operating hours,” Gopman said.

In other municipalities such as Kettering, the recreation center and senior center will be open to the public during regular business hours, but they are not designated as warming centers unless the American Red Cross determines there is an emergent need to provide shelter.

Whether the Red Cross opens an emergency shelter is “situational” and not solely based on temperatures, said spokeswoman Marita Salkowski.

“If we get a request, we will look at the situation to determine if it falls in our guidelines to open a shelter,” Salkowski said. “During weather situations like this we’re constantly in contact with our (emergency management) partners. If we are requested by EMA officials or the needs have exceeded a municipality’s capacities, then we will open a shelter.”



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