BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Erie County officials say they’re working with local utility companies to prepare for the brutal cold that’s expected from Thursday night into Saturday.

Frostbite, hypothermia, and frozen water pipes are all top concerns. Obviously, the message is to prepare for the cold, dress warm, and stay inside if you can. Check on loved ones and elderly neighbors.

“Hypothermia, again, is a medical emergency you cannot survive if your core body temperature is below 95 degrees for an extended period of time, so people really have to pay attention to shivering because shivering is the first sign of developing hypothermia,” said Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County’s health commissioner.

Erie County will not be issuing a State of Emergency due to the cold temperatures and for now, is leaving school closures to be a local decision. Even though there will not be a whole lot of snow anticipated, drivers are still being told to take it easy out there because salt won’t work in these extremely cold temperatures.

Also, a good way to make sure your pipes don’t freeze is by running a small stream of water from your faucet. County officials say if you know someone who is a senior or has a disability, to please check on them, if you can. People are also encouraged to be safe with the use of candles and space heaters and to not use appliances such as stoves to heat your home.

“Temperatures that get this low, often have people looking for alternatives to heating in their home things like stoves are an improper way to heat your home, but we hear of people doing it all the time as far-fetched as it may seem even outdoor gas grills have been pulled into homes,” said Greg Butcher, deputy commissioner of Erie County Emergency Services.

If you need a ride to a warming shelter you can call 211.

“We are activating of course a number of our resources that we have our Code Blue resource which is run through Erie County, the warming shelters of course will be available including a 24-hour operation for the overnight hours,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

There are also concerns about those who are homeless — county officials say there were about a dozen people who died during the Christmas blizzard who were homeless. Two overnight warming shelters in the City of Buffalo will open starting at 6 p.m. Thursday night at 586 Genesee Street and 412 Niagara Street — there are additional daytime warming shelters that are already open.

They are as follows:

Autumnwood Senior Center
1800 Clinton Avenue
Thurs & Friday/8am-4pm

Delavan Grider Community Center
877 E. Delavan
Thurs & Fri/8am-8pm

George K. Arthur
Community Center
2056 Genesee Street
Thurs & Fri/9am-4pm

Gloria J Parks
Community Center
3242 Main Street
Thurs & Fri/8am-9pm

Hennepin Community Center
24 Ludington Avenue
Thursday & Friday /9am-5pm

JFK Community Center
114 Hickory Street
Thurs & Fri/2-10pm

Northwest Buffalo
Community Center
155 Lawn Avenue
Thurs & Fri/8:30am-3:30pm

Lincoln Field House Community
Center (City Site)
10 Quincy Street
Thurs & Fri/2pm-10pm

Peter Machnica Community
Center (City Site)
1799 Clinton Street
Thursday & Fri/2pm-10pm

Tosh Collins Community Center
35 Cazenovia Street
Thursday & Friday/2pm-10pm

Valley Community Association
Senior Center
93 Leddy Street
Thurs & Fri/8am-5:30pm

William Emslie YMCA
Senior Center
585 William Street
Thurs & Friday/6am-8pm
586 Genesee Street

Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.