Freezing temperatures are expected in Merced County this week.
A Hard Freeze Watch goes into effect Wednesday night and lasts through early Friday morning, according to officials at the National Weather Service in Hanford.
Low temperatures in Merced will be in the mid 20s at around 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. through Friday, said Jeff Barlow, meteorologist at the weather service in Hanford, in a phone interview with the Sun-Star.
At around 11 p.m. and midnight, Barlow said, temperatures are expected to be below 32 degrees.
“These temperatures are below normal,” Barlow said.
Winds could reach up to 30 mph across Merced on Wednesday, Barlow added. Highs temperatures on Wednesday will reach 57 degrees.
“Wednesday night is when we really see that cold air coming in,” Barlow said, and on Thursday high temperatures will be 45 degrees.
Barlow said people should check on seniors, make sure pets are indoors, outside pipes are wrapped and that a cover is placed over temperature sensitive plants. The Hard Freeze Watch is also issued in Madera and Fresno counties.
Warming centers are open at night in Merced through March for anyone who needs it, said Bruce Metcalf, director of the Merced County Rescue Mission. The D Street Shelter is open to men and women, he said, and when room runs out the Rescue Mission opens the warming center that takes, men, women and children.
When temperatures are below 40 degrees, it’s raining or there’s dense fog the warming center also opens, Metcalf said. They pick people up every night at 8 p.m. on the corner of D and 18th Street and bring them to the center and drop people back off in the morning at 6.
Pets are not allowed in the warming center or D Street Shelter, Metcalf said.
“I wish we did but we don’t have a place for pets,” he said. “That’s something that needs to be taken care of and I wish we could.”