Douglas County residents have been trying to keep warm with the bone-chilling temperatures that blew in Sunday.

The low in Atlanta on New Year’s Day was 18 degrees while the record-low for Jan. 1 is 7 degrees, National Weather Service forecaster Lauren Meritt said. The low on Tuesday morning was around 12, she said. Many Douglas County residents woke up Tuesday to temperatures in the single digits.

“These temperatures are a lot colder than people are used to,” Meritt said Tuesday. “So if anyone’s going to be outside you just want to make sure you’re bundled up and not spending too long out in the cold because we’ve also had some wind in the area. (Monda) was pretty windy, so there were some wind chills that got pretty low.”

Extra blankets, letting faucets drip overnight, keeping blankets in the car, having at least half a tank of gas in case of a breakdown, and layering up are all recommendations for residents, Douglas County Emergency Management Director Jason Milhollin said. He also recommended ensuring children are properly dressed, especially if waiting at a morning bus stop, and bringing all pets and potted plants inside during the cold snap.

“It’s just not one night, it’s several nights in a row of cold weather,” Milhollin said. “A lot of times we’ll just have one night and it’ll warm up the next day, but this is going to be cold until about Friday or Saturday.”

For the sixth consecutive year, Douglasville First United Methodist Church has opened its doors for anyone needing a warm place to stay overnight. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the guests stay until 8:30 a.m. The church opened on Monday and Tuesday night and will continue to open every night Milhollin sees the need. The warming center will also be available to use tonight.

On Monday night, the seven homeless guests who stayed the night were offered hot coffee, water, and even pizza. Local law enforcement and homeless advocate groups ride around Douglasville and offer rides to warming centers on days when the option is available.

“This is what a church is supposed to do,” FUMC Associate Pastor Heather Jallad said. “As a church that seeks out to live out the great commandment in loving our neighbors, I think it’s very significant to who we are and what we’re to be about.”

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