Big Freeze Expected this Weekend

If you thought yesterday or today was cold, you haven't seen anything yet.

Forecasters say this weekend could pack ice age temperatures, with overnight lows lingering in the single digits, and a wind chill bringing it down  to 20 degrees below zero.

"That sounds freezing, because right now it's probably about maybe 11 degrees, and I'm cold just standing out here already," said Jerwin Garcia.

Paul Rickert works at a lumber yard in Toppenish -- he says the past few days have been miserable for him and his coworkers.

"I have to stay outside until 5 o'clock, and that's really when it gets cold; when the sun starts dropping," said Rickert.

With the wind chill bringing temperatures into the negatives, it opens up dangerous risks for those who are exposed for long periods of time -- people and animals who aren't prepared for the cold could be at risk for frostbite, or even hypothermia.

Doctors say prolonged exposure to these elements can cause your body to cease bloodflow to your limbs in order to protect your primary organs, which can result in some serious harm.

"If you're out for a long time, you can slowly lose heat and you can go into hypothermia," said Dr. Shawn Wilson, "If you're with someone who's out there, uncontrolled shivering, they're acting confused, things like that, you need to get them back to a warm place and get them inside."

Doctors suggest you should stay inside as often as you can throughout the weekend.

But for those who have obligations outdoors, Paul Rickert says they better bring more than one outfit.

"I dress in layers; thermals, sweaters, jeans, overalls, coveralls, jacket, beanie, a face mask," said Rickert, "Anything to cover any part of the skin."

The Sunrise Outreach center says their mens winter shelter is near capacity, however there is more than enough room for women and children.

In Walla Walla, the First Congregational Church on South Palouse Street has volunteered to be a warming center for the homeless from now until 5 p.m Sunday.

The church will provide a room with cots and blankets -- provided by the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

The facility is not a traditional shelter and will not be providing meals or shower facilities.