Severe temperatures send area into frenzy

Published 6:46 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Shunkawauken Falls going White Oak Mountain was frozen Tuesday morning Jan. 7 after temperatures dropped to single digits overnight (photo by Jessica Greve).

Shunkawauken Falls going White Oak Mountain was frozen Tuesday morning Jan. 7 after temperatures dropped to single digits overnight (photo by Jessica Greve).

by  Samantha Hurst and Leah Justice
Temperatures plummeting into single digits Tuesday, Jan. 7, kept schools in Landrum and Polk County closed until almost 10 a.m. and sent emergency officials traversing Polk County to ensure residents were safe.
Polk County Schools Superintendent Bill Miller said one third of the system’s buses would not crank easily Tuesday morning. The system delayed schools two hours again today.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office spent much of Monday, Jan. 6 delivering wood to people in need as well as paying to fill oil and propane tanks. The sheriff’s office has agreements with fuel companies for fuel through the office’s needy fund.
Tuesday morning the sheriff’s office assisted several stranded motorists without enough antifreeze to get cars running. Officers from the sheriff’s office and Tryon Police Department also checked on individuals they know could have been in need. Tuesday morning the sheriff’s office RU OK program determined that everyone on that list was safe.
Local oil and propane companies have been busy filling up tanks since this weekend, especially Monday.
Kim Cochran with Burrell’s Fuel said since this weekend they have delivered 14,000 gallons of fuel. on Jan. 7 they had 107 calls for fuel and propane and filled up tanks through the night Monday.
Polk County Animal Control had an influx of calls Monday night about animals being left outside. Most of the animals were taken care of by animal control speaking with their owners.
Foothills Humane Society Director Selena Coffey said the shelter is currently at full capacity so staff and volunteers are using a variety of methods to keep animals safe from the frigid temps.
“We try to do a lot of individual placement so that the animals that really need that extra warmth, they can get it,” Coffey said.
Several animals have gone home temporarily with emergency foster volunteers. Meanwhile, the animals that can be brought inside have been. Those that remain outside are being protected with tarps and additional blankets.
Coffey said FHS could always use even temporary donations of igloo or other medium to large doghouses and dog coats.
Polk County set up an emergency shelter at the red cross in Columbus on Monday night as part of its emergency operation plan. The shelter housed one person, so was not set up Tuesday night, but can be opened anytime if there is a need. Other arrangements were made for the person in need of a shelter Tuesday night.
Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge urges anyone who may be in need of a warm shelter to call 828-894-0188 or 828-894-3001 and a shelter can be set up immediately. The red cross has a generator for times of power outages.

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