Heflin Baptist Church will open its doors at 4 p.m. to people seeking shelter from tonight’s predicted cold weather, Cleburne County Administrator Steve Swafford said.
“It’s not where I’d rather spend my Saturday night, but if I didn’t have power, I’d want to have that option,” Swafford said.
Thousands in Cleburne County were still without power Saturday afternoon, following the snowfall that covered the area in multiple inches of the white stuff Friday. As of noon, about 7,000 people in Calhoun County were without power, while a nearly equal number – more than half the county – were without electricity in Cleburne, Calhoun’s less-populous neighbor. Police said much of Heflin had power, while many areas outside the small town didn’t.
An official from Alabama Power said Saturday morning that the company was bringing in crews from other areas to fix power lines. But by 2 p.m., county officials were urging residents to consider their options for dealing with tonight’s temperatures, which are forecast to drop into the teens.
“Don’t put all your eggs in the basket of expecting your power to come back on today,” Swafford said.
Swafford said the county is lucky in that many rural homes have propane tanks and don’t need electricity for heat. Those who do have electric heat pumps should find a place to stay, he said. Because space at the church is limited, he said, people should look for other accommodations first and come to the church if other options don’t work out.
Shelter in the church’s basement will be warm, but the accommodations will be “minimal,” Swafford said.
The church is on Vickery Street in Heflin. Swafford said the doors open at 4 p.m., to give guests time to arrive before sunset. County officials have urged people not to travel after 4:30 p.m. if they don’t need to, because of expected ice on the roads.