City, county open warming centers during winter storm

Jan. 17—Cold temperatures and snow prompted the city and county to open warming centers for those who have inadequate heat or shelter.

Laurel County Judge Executive David Westerfield said First Baptist Church of London was allowing the county emergency management to set up a warming center in their facility on Monday, as temperatures only reached in the mid-teens and the area was blanketed with over four inches of snow.

"The county set up a warming center at First Baptist Church to help people who don't have heat or or electric might have gone out," Westerfield said.

Justin Noe, Emergency Management Director for Laurel County, said the warming center was to provide shelter for anyone who needed a warm place to stay during the cold temperatures and wintery weather.

"With the prior storms we've had, we did early planning for the weather by monitoring," he said. "We just try to see that the community's needs are met."

Although Noe said no one had utilized the facility on Monday or Tuesday, the warming station would remain open throughout the week as more inclement weather is expected on Thursday and Friday.

"We have volunteers who live nearby and if someone comes by, we have a number they can call and someone will be over," he said. "We're going to keep it open the rest of the week in case someone needs a place to go, especially with more snow supposed to come in."

The London Community Center also opened on Monday to assist residents with a warming center.

London Mayor Randall Weddle posted a video showing how the community center had been sectioned off to accommodate those who may need a safe warm place during the frigid cold until Wednesday morning.

London Mayor Randall Weddle announced the facility's availability on the City of London's Facebook page.

"We have people in the community who need this, whether you're homeless or lose power," he said. "Just know your city is here for you."

Weddle added that water and snacks would be provided for those utilizing the warming station.

The community center was divided into two sections — one for men and another for women and children. Weddle added, however, that families coming in to use the facility could stay together. Tables and cots were set up and ready for use. City police and city fire department staff were set up to assist anyone needing shelter.

Weddle added that road crews were out throughout Monday and Tuesday, working hard to clear roadways and that work would continue through Wednesday as well.