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Dangerously Cold Weather This Week

Press Release

Des Moines, Iowa — Monday, February 8, 2021 — The City of Des Moines is currently experiencing dangerously cold temperatures that will continue into next week. Later this week and into the weekend, wind chills of 20 to 30 below or colder are expected. These wind chills can be dangerous if precautions are not taken. Residents are reminded to avoid exposure to the extreme cold and to take precautions if they absolutely must be outside.

During cold or other extreme weather events, the City of Des Moines activates event-specific plans and coordinates with Polk County Emergency Management Agency (PCEMA) and surrounding community partners to efficiently assist residents. This coordination also includes monitoring local shelter capacities, participating in metro-wide efforts, and sharing web-based information/education resources. The following information can assist you to be prepared for the cold.

Getting Warm
During extreme cold weather events, the following sheltering strategy should be used when persons cannot escape the cold. 1. Hotel/motel; 2. Warming centers, as needed; 3. Use of existing local shelters, as needed; 4. Activation of a county-wide shelter during the most extreme events.

To find temporary relief from the cold, residents are encouraged to utilize warming centers, businesses and facilities that are normally open to the public during their regular business hours, such as shopping malls, that have public restroom facilities. Warming centers are not staffed to provide services, but they are safe places to get warm.

The City has identified the following warming centers as possible options:

  • Southridge Mall (1111 E. Army Post Rd.) – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday; Noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday
  • Merle Hay Mall (3800 Merle Hay Rd.) – 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday; Noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday
  • Central Library (1000 Grand Ave.) – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday
  • East Side Library (2559 Hubbell Ave.) – 1 to 7 p.m., Monday and Tuesday; 1 to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday
  • Forest Ave. Library (1326 Forest Ave.) – 1 to 7 p.m., Monday and Thursday; 1 to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
  • Franklin Ave. Library (5000 Franklin Ave.) – 1 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 1 to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday
  • North Side Library (3516 Fifth Ave.) – 1 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
  • South Side Library (1111 Porter Ave.) – 1 to 7 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday; 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Local Shelters

  • Central Iowa Shelter and Services (CISS), 1420 Mulberry, Des Moines
    Currently operating in its weather amnesty status and has surge capacity available to facilitate overnight sheltering. During the weather amnesty status, at 10 degrees or below, individuals who may not normally be able to seek services can come in. They may do so 48 hours before and after projected cold temperatures.

Partnering Agencies Efforts

  • DART is assisting by providing free transport for individuals needing to get to CISS or identified warming centers.

Cold Weather Resources and Information
Learn how to make an emergency kit, make an emergency plan, be informed about extreme weather hazards, and sign up for the CodeRED automated notification system on Polk County’s website:

Cold Shelter Flyer Thumbnail

Shelter From The Cold Flyer

 English  Spanish

Jen Schulte
Assistant City Manager, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4058

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit, Facebook and Twitter for more information.