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UPDATE: Massive Berkeley Brush Fire Nearly…

UPDATE: Snow Expected Friday, Warming Shelters Open

Senior Center in Morristown Town Hall will be open to the public as a 'warming shelter' from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Morristown firehouse on Speedwell Avenue open 24/7 effective Tuesday.

Baby, it's cold outside. And, we don't even have any fluffy, fun snow to show for it (of course, that might be the last thing anyone wants come Friday).

This might come as a shock to many, but after the temperature rose into the 50s on Sunday, it has dropped deep into the 20s since and is not expected to climb out until sometime next week.

In response, Morristown has opened its Senior Center--located in Town Hall--to the public as a "warming shelter" until further notice. Regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Morristown Fire Department firehouse on Speedwell Avenue also is open 24/7 for winter relief, effective immediately.

As if the super cold temperature isn't bad enough, early predictions indicate a significant snowstorm will arrive to the region on Friday. How significant? It may be too early to give out amounts, but ABC New York Meteorologist Bill Evans noted Tuesday morning he expects it to be a "plowable" storm, in his unofficial three-level gauge of winter storms--a nuisance, plowable and biblical. At least we're not expecting biblical.

Whenever something like a bad storm or very cold weather arrives, the conversation often moves toward how to care for more vulnerable portions of the population like the elderly and--specifically for Morristown--a sizeable homeless population.

Police Chief Peter Demnitz said the town tries to let people including the homeless know they should seek shelter should they be without options during bad weather. But they cannot by law forceably bring someone in if they have not been found to have committed a crime, he said. 

"It's unreasonable search and seizure, forcing someone to go someplace," he said. "Even if you're trying to save someone's life." 

Thankfully, the chief noted, there are plenty of options in town for people to find warmth. "They find places, I don't know where," he said. "Every so often, we get a call but there are not many lobbies. Most of them are locked [at night.]"

While he said the town will do what it can, "unless mandated, we do not get involved in forcing people," Demnitz said.

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