Temperatures tonight are expected to dip as low as 10 degrees, and in each of the past two winters, a group of volunteers has created a warming shelter for anyone who might need a warm bed for a night like this, but this year, shelter will be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Last year, a local church provided the shelter, but a church secretary referred us to the Salvation Army and the Salvation Army referred us to Tim Yaeger, emergency management coordinator for Genesee County.
Yaeger said he and officials at the Salvation Army discussed options and the best course -- given the low demand for beds in cold weather locally, and with limited staff available -- is to respond to requests for shelter rather than keep a shelter open all night.
If anybody finds themselves without shelter at night, they should either call emergency dispatch or go to the nearest fire hall. That will trigger officials to contact the Salvation Army to assist that person or group of people with finding a safe place for the night.
The local Salvation Army doesn't have the staff available to specifically keep a shelter open all night, but staff is always on call and available to assist anybody with an urgent need for shelter, Yaeger said.
During the weekdays, the Salvation Army at 529 E. Main St., Batavia, is open for anybody who needs assistance.
In the past, the shelters have been barely used, if used at all. People living in the area who may lack permanent housing seem to be able to find a friend or family member to stay with in cold weather.
There is a lake effect snow watch in effect now until 1 a.m., Thursday. Storm totals of 5 to 10 inches of snow are expected in the region. Winds will reportedly be 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph, creating blowing and drifting snow and low visibility.