Brace For Bitter Cold

Balmy weather turns bitter cold. Overnight lows the next few nights are fitting for a winterland display off Hewes Avenue.

Cold nights mean turning on furnaces and heaters.

"All fire departments around the coast are really concerned about the trailer issue," said Gulfport fire chief Pat Sullivan.

Many FEMA trailer residents will be giving their heating systems a true test the next few nights.

"It's very important you make sure that your system is operating correctly. That somebody that knows what they're doing checks it," said Sullivan.

Trailers are of special concern because of close proximity. Fire can easily spread from one to another.

"Don't use the burners on the stove. That's a common thing we see all the time, when people will just turn the burners on and leave them on to heat the house. And that of course is very dangerous," the fire chief explained.

Chimneys and fireplaces may also be cause for concern. Just as it's important to check out your home's heating system, fireplaces should also be checked out before the cold weather season.

"It's always important to have a chimney cleaned before you use it," said chimney specialist Bobby Sullivan.

Before you light the first log, make sure your fireplace is fit. Many sustained storm damage.

"A lot of the houses flooded or they lost a lot of stack on their chimney and haven't had it inspected. A lot of them are actually rusting out now. So, we're finding a lot of problems with just bad fireplaces," said the owner of Top Hat Fireplace Store.

"We're going to do the best we can to accommodate everyone and get them out of the cold," said Rev. Tom Mims of Gulf Coast Rescue Mission.

He worries about folks finding a place to escape the cold. The mission is already nearly full.

"We can accommodate a few more. We'll get some rollaways out and some cots out and we'll set up the chapel and we'll turn the heater on in there, put them in there if we have to," said Rev. Mims.

The cold is expected to stick around through the weekend, and into early next week.