In addition to creating dangerous travel conditions, these strong winds also create extremely low wind chills.
The National Meteorological Service predicts 15 to 30 degrees of cold in the coming days.
Meteorologists and emergency responders are warning people not to venture outside unless they have to in these conditions.
But for those without a permanent home, this may not be an option.
The Merrill Community Homeless Center, or MAC Home, is preparing for a potential increase in those seeking their services.
Teresa Anthony is the CEO of MAC Home. He says just because you don’t see people sleeping on park benches or under bridges in Northwood doesn’t mean there aren’t people experiencing homelessness.
“It’s quieter. You may not know someone who is homeless because it is two or three families in one house. Or someone who stays with friends. It’s homelessness again. “If you don’t have a place to call yourself, you’re homeless,” he said.
But during the holidays and when visiting family, there may not be places where people usually hope.
That’s one reason Anthony expects to see an increase in crowds this week at the MAC Home in Merrill.
That and the cold temperatures.
MAC Home has long-term transitional housing, but it is also open as a warming center.
“They often stop to ask for gloves or hats, scarves. We have it all available. We also have winter coats. Sometimes people just don’t have needs, so we have everything available if people need it. They can stop and ask for it,” Anthony said.
They also offer hot drinks to warm people up.
The warming center is usually open from 7:00 pm to 8:00 am, but the shelter is staffed 24/7, so in such weather they let people in during the day to warm up.
Anthony says anyone in need should not hesitate to come by or call 715-722-1200. MAC Home is located at 407 W Main Street, Merrill, WI.
“That’s why we are here. We’re here to help,” he said.
People can also support MAC Home by donating winter gear such as hats, gloves and jackets, cleaning supplies or making a monetary donation.
You can learn more on the MAC Home website.