Boston Prepares for Dangerously Low Temperatures

Doctors are warning about the threat of frostbite in the extreme cold as Boston lays out its plan to keep its homeless population safe

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Record-setting cold temperatures are moving in to Massachusetts.

"We're New Englanders," said Winthrop resident Belinda Borelli. "We're tough, we're gonna make it, I think everything's going to be OK."

It'll be a quick burst of the big chill, but enough to cancel classes for Boston Public Schools on Friday.

The extreme temperatures have prompted an increase in 911 calls for requests to check on people outside in Boston.

"I'm happy, because that means I don't have to walk in the cold," said Boston Latin student Kaylicia Spencer-Dean. "I was scared because I heard the winds are going to be crazy."

Doctors say the deep freeze can be dangerous very quickly.

"If we're in negative 15, negative 25 degree temperatures with the wind chills, frostbite can happen in five to 10 minutes," said Dr. Ali Raja, deputy chair of the Department of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. "So if you are going out, make sure you layer up and make sure you try to cover up every bit of exposed skin."

The arctic blast will be especially concerning for the area's homeless population.

"If you're staying outside, this is life or death," said Lyndia Downie, executive director of the Pine Street Inn.

The shelter says nobody will be turned away even though they are full. They're adding two extra outreach vans to hit the streets, making sure people know what's coming, and loading up with clothes and food for those who just don't want to go indoors.

New England is bracing for extremely cold temperatures.

"We do have a list of people that we think are particularly vulnerable because of either health conditions or mental health or substance use, that we'll be very focused on getting them in because those are the people most unlikely to come in," Downie said.

For shelter residents like Mayra DeJesus, she feels fortunate she has one of the 500 beds and hopes people on the streets heed the warning.

"It was getting cold out there," said DeJesus. "There was a couple of days I was in hallways sleeping because not to be outside in the cold. I feel for them people that are out there."

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