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Lancaster County declares 'Code Blue' for upcoming cold winter weather

A Code Blue is issued when temperatures dip below 20 degrees and wind chills hover in the single digits.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Amid freezing temperatures sweeping through the region, Lancaster County has issued a Code Blue alert for the weekend. This comes after a mild January that ended up being one of the warmest on record.

“The weather patterns here are unpredictable and unprecedented," said Deb Jones, director for Lancaster County’s Homelessness Coalition.

A Code Blue is ordered when temperatures dip below 20 degrees and wind chills hover in the single digits.

“We as a community moved into action by asking the emergency shelters to expand their beds, as well as their hours," said Jones.

In downtown Lancaster, a Code Blue shelter will open at the Food Hub on North Queen Street beginning Friday. Additional shelters will open throughout the county, such as in Elizabethtown and Columbia.

Justin Eby with the Lancaster Housing Redevelopment Authority says shelters and agencies are constantly communicating as they get ready for the cold weekend.

“Some of this preparation involves looking at our current shelter statistics, like how many beds we have open," said Eby. "That really dictates how we respond to a Code Blue.”

Eby says the county has a good volunteer base that’s ready to help people find adequate shelter.

“It’s amazing how the community has come together, and the agencies have come together to actually put together the operations," said Eby.

“The goal of keeping all of our neighbors warm, safe, and dry is interwoven in the fabric of Lancaster County," said Jones.

The Code Blue will last through Sunday morning.

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