New England faced a cold and blustery start to the day on Thursday, with temperatures just barely crawling out of the single digits, and the sun doing its best to warm the frozen ground.
According to the National Weather Service, the wind chill in Providence measured as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas.
Shelters across Rhode Island prepared for an increase in individuals seeking respite from the cold. Karen Santilli, president and CEO of Crossroads Rhode Island, reported that 67 people spent Wednesday night in the organization’s overflow shelter.
To put this number into perspective, Santilli said that the average number of individuals in the overflow shelter during the summer is between 10 and 12. On Thursday morning, Santilli and a team of volunteers were on the streets looking for anyone who might not have already found shelter.
In Newport, the Seamen’s Church Institute remained open overnight and sheltered a total of 10 people, according to Heather Braga, the acting director of the institute. Braga and volunteers are hoping to provide cots, showers and warm drinks for anyone in seeking shelter during the day from 4pm to 7am until Sunday morning, with the hope that temperatures will moderate by then. Anyone willing to volunteer is encouraged to call the institute.
According to the National Weather Service, extreme cold is forecast to continue into next week, easing some time around Wednesday.