Extreme cold overnight in Stamford means closed COVID test sites, open warming centers

STAMFORD — As Connecticut prepares for extreme cold this week, the city and Inspirica said they would provide spaces for people to stay warm.

“The coldest air mass in nearly three years settles over the region on Tuesday,” according to a tweet Monday afternoon from the weather service’s New York office. “Daytime highs will struggle to reach 20 degrees, with wind chills in the single digits.”

Lauren Meyer, a special assistant to Mayor Caroline Simmons, said the lobby of the Stamford Government Center at 888 Washington Blvd. would be available as a warming center.

Inspirica spokesperson Sarah Kennedy said the organization, which offers services and housing help for those in need, was offering overnight shelter to women and families Monday night at 141 Franklin St. Kennedy said those in need of shelter should call 211, though walk-ins would be accepted as well.

Dangerous cold


The city announced that Sema4’s COVID-19 testing site at Cove Island Park would be closed Monday and Tuesday because of the cold weather. Accu Reference’s testing site at 689 Canal St. remained open Monday. The vaccination site at Scalzi Park will also be closed Tuesday.

For the first time this winter, Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday activated the state’s severe cold weather protocol, which allows state agencies, cities and shelters to coordinate sheltering people who need it.

“While we’ve had relatively mild weather so far this winter, it looks like we are about to receive our first blast of freezing cold air beginning (Monday) evening,” Lamont said in a statement. “Being outdoors in these arctic conditions for extended periods is not safe, and we must spread the word that shelters and warming centers are open all across Connecticut. If you or someone you know is in need of shelter, call 211 and they will direct you to a nearby location and they can also provide transportation if necessary.”

Gary Lessor, the chief meteorologist at Western Connecticut State University’s Weather Center, said the air is being pulled into the region by a cold front that hit the state Sunday night and a tropical low pressure Tuesday evening.

“Basically, this cold has been locked up from the upper Rockies to the upper Midwest for the past few weeks and it’s finally being tapped,” Lessor said.

On Monday night, “we’ll see the dewpoint drop below zero, which is an indication of Arctic air,” he added.

The freezing temperatures pose “a significant threat for poorly insulated pipes to freeze and burst,” according to the National Weather Service. Those who have exposed pipes can let the water drip overnight to prevent freezing, Lessor said.

With temperatures expected to rise later in the week, Lessor said there’s no cause for alarm, and the temperatures are not unseasonably cold for Connecticut.

People who go outside should cover any exposed skin, he said, and pets should be brought inside.