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January 24, 2013

Workers, residents fight big chill

Workers, residents battle sub-zero wind-chill

GLOUCESTER — Cape Ann may have missed that snowstorm predicted for Tuesday, but it could not escape Wednesday’s big chill.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projected that temperatures would all to 4 degrees overnight, with a wind-chill factor of minus-12. And those wind-chill numbers are expected to remain well below zero today, with highs forecast at up to 20 degrees today — accompanied by 18 mile-per-hour winds with gusts of 30 mph or more.

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, the temperature in Gloucester was 10 degrees – at the same time Gnome, Alaska, reported a temperature of 16.

None of those statistics, however, mattered to National Grid crews working a road project along Prospect Street Wednesday morning, and Gloucester police officers who were working on traffic detail and trying to stay warm.

Officer William Cahill could only describe the weather as “freezing” as he did his best to stay in the sunlight.

Officer Mark Foote said the he layered up well before venturing out into the cold, putting on two layers of socks and making good use of his hand warmers. Foote said he has been working the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. detail for about 11 days now, with work expected to continue today.

Construction crews and public employees weren’t not the only ones bearing the brunt of the cold weather.

The rotating aid shelter, the Grace Center, as well as the Action Inc. shelter were trying to help people who had no permanent shelter in which to seek warmth. The Grace Center provides daytime support for those who need a hot meal or someplace to stay warm, circling locations between the Third Congregational Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Unitarian Universalist church. It allows people to have access to clean bathrooms and health information before the Action shelter opens at 5 p.m.

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