ELKHART — Elkhart Christmas carolers may want to reconsider their plans this week.
Debbie Micola, director at Santa’s Pantry, a local non-profit organization, says that the temperature will be too cold for Christmas carolers Thursday, Dec. 12. The caroling event was part of the non-profit’s 10-day Winterfest activities.
Instead, caroling will take place before the Santa’s Family Fun Stroll from 8-9 a.m. Saturday, Dec., 14, outside of the Knights of Columbus, 112 E. Lexington Ave., Elkhart.
“The Christmas caroling could add to the ambiance,” said Micola about carolers at the Fun Stroll. “I just didn’t have the heart to tell people to come out and Christmas carol and freeze to death.”
With the upcoming frigid temperatures predicted by the National Weather Service, freezing might be a legitimate concern.
“It’s going to be some of the coldest air we’ve seen so far,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Michael Lewis, who says that there will be a “series of cold shots” throughout the week.
Snow will likely fall Wednesday evening, Lewis said, which traps heat in the ground from radiating out, allowing temperatures to drop further.
“We’re looking at single digits,” Lewis said about the temperature Wednesday night. Temperatures will be consistently in the low teens through the week, he said, and might creep up for the weekend before dropping at the beginning of next week.
“Wind chills are going to be brutal,” Lewis said. “This is winter — we’re unfortunately in the throws of winter.”
Jennifer Tobey, director of the Elkhart County Emergency Management Agency, said adequate preparation will be crucial for the next few days.
“This is not going to be the type of weather where you can just jump outside,” Tobey said. “If you have outdoor pets, now is the time to bring them in.”
“Hopefully people have had their furnaces maintained,” Tobey said. People with wood burning stoves should be concerned and should make sure that their chimneys have been properly inspected.
Tobey also said that this would be a great time to make sure drivers are prepared in case they become stranded. Phone chargers, food supplies and extra clothing should be kept in vehicles, she said.
Drivers are also urged to use common sense when driving in such conditions. “We need to transition from our fun summertime driving to our safe winter driving,” Tobey said.
“If we have situations where ice forms, it’s not going to warm up to melt,” she said. Snowfall eventually covers the ice, which makes judging road conditions more difficult.
“I thought we kind of had an easy winter last year,” says Tobey. She said while there was ice and snowfall last year, there was not the same temperature intensity of this year.
Debbie Micola also notices a difference from last year’s Winterfest activities.
“We had to reschedule last year’s ice sculptors because it was too warm,” she said, adding that the sculptors have been scheduled for Jan. 4, 2014. “This year the carolers are getting rescheduled since it’s so cold.”
For more information about Winterfest and Santa’s Pantry, contact director Debbie Micola at 262-4478.
For more information about upcoming weather predictions and proper preparedness, contact Jennifer Tobey, director of the Emergency Management Agency of Elkhart County, at 891-2238.
“Just bundle up and be safe outside,” Tobey said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency reminds people to prepare for winter weather:
Put extra clothing, rock salt, sand and snow shovels in your vehicle’s emergency kit.
Minimize travel: Only drive if necessary, and let other people know where you are going.
Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
Winterize your vehicle and home.
For more details, visit ready.gov, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.