Freezing temperatures expected through the weekend

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#thebigchill By Mike Gertzman #thebigchill By Mike Gertzman
A frozen fountain in Gilbert, Ariz. By Mike Gertzman A frozen fountain in Gilbert, Ariz. By Mike Gertzman
Desert Hills, south of Anthem. Luis said this piece of ice was in the horse's water barrel this morning. It is at least an half inch thick. By Mike Gertzman Desert Hills, south of Anthem. Luis said this piece of ice was in the horse's water barrel this morning. It is at least an half inch thick. By Mike Gertzman
More ice from the water barrel By Mike Gertzman More ice from the water barrel By Mike Gertzman
Angel with her blanket By Mike Gertzman Angel with her blanket By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- A freeze warning that could extend through the weekend has left people across the Valley scrambling to prepare for what’s expected to be a frigid few days.

Central Arizona Shelter Services downtown is stocking up on boxes of blankets and adding extra beds.  Shelter staff expects dozens of additional people seeking warmth as temperatures continue to dip.

“At this point it becomes a safety issue,” said Irene Agustin who says one of the biggest concerns includes hypothermia.

In addition to the added cots, CASS has hundreds of blankets ready to be passed out, either at the shelter or by police and firefighters.

Firefighters urge people to protect pets, pipes, pools and plants during the chill.

The Sanchez family of Phoenix spent Friday covering their plants and bushes, nearly a dozen in all.

The family also recently had its furnace checked to make sure it’s in good working order before they crank up the heat.

“I’m always cold,” said Hector Sanchez. “I don’t like it at all!”

His plan is to stay inside as much as possible this weekend.  This cold snap, which could last through early next week, has come as a surprise even to Arizona transplants from much colder climates.

“It’s just freezing!” said Michael Gossie, originally from upstate New York. “I don’t know how I’m going to get through it.”

His advice includes gloves, hats and layers.

Freezing temperatures could set in as early as late Friday night.

“This is not an Arizona night; this is someplace else,” said Kameron Hawkins who's lived in Arizona for most of his life. “This is the coldest I’ve seen in the Valley for a very long time.”