Emergency shelters open as cold, windy weather hits Whatcom Co.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A nasty combination of cold and windy weather hit Whatcom County on Wednesday.

Emergency plans are active to keep people safe from the frigid temperatures. Temperatures may say it's in the 30s, but factoring in the wind chill it feels like the 20s in Bellingham.

Local shelter workers say this type of cold snap is dangerous and potentially deadly.  Beds were laid out at the Lighthouse Mission on Wednesday to get people inside where it's safe and warm.

This Thanksgiving week, Bridget Reeves with the mission says emergency shelters were activated. She's expecting more than 150 people to use the shelter Wednesday and on Thanksgiving night.

"People can die in cold weather, regardless of whether there is snow, regardless of whether the temperature is at 30 degrees or slightly higher than that," Reeves said.

Wind warning alerts started going out early, with gusts expected up to 60 miles per hour. Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville said police and fire officials are ready for any weather-related damage.

"We live in a community where everyone pulls together," Linville said. "We’re big enough to have some resources but we’re small enough to have relationships and that’s what makes the programs in our city work."