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Cold-weather Tips and Resources for Shelter, Pets, Power and Pipes

Cold-weather Tips and Resources for Shelter, Pets, Power and Pipes
Posted on 12/21/2022
A thermometer measuring below zero degrees sits in a pile of snow

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory and a Wind Chill Warning for the Aurora area, with a dangerously cold forecast Dec. 21 to 23. Although we are only expecting 1 to 3 inches of snow in the Aurora area, wind chills could reach as low as –50 degrees Fahrenheit. Please take care, be prepared, and check on neighbors who may need assistance. Learn more about how to prepare for winter weather with the city's Weather Wise or the Colorado Red Cross.

Below are some tips from Aurora Water, Xcel Energy,, the Aurora Animal Shelter and Aurora’s Homelessness Program in preparation for the storm.

Winter shelter/transportation services

Everyone deserves a safe, warm place to sleep. Although the city of Aurora is not a direct service provider, it funds agencies in the community to provide services to individuals experiencing homelessness.

The Aurora Day Resource Center is available for shelter when there is severe life-threatening weather (20 degrees or below). The center is located at 13387 E. 19th Place and will be activated as a 24/7 space through Thursday, Dec. 22. This center can accommodate close to 200 individuals per night and is managed by Mile High Behavioral Healthcare. Staff at the center will provide referrals to families for family-designated shelters, such as Comitis Crisis Center.

The city’s Aurora Cold Weather Outreach Team (ACOT) will be activated starting Wednesday, Dec. 21. This team is a collaboration between the Aurora Police Department, Aurora Fire Rescue, street outreach personnel and mental health professionals that conducts outreach to individuals experiencing homelessness at encampments on cold weather nights to encourage them to access shelter. This team provides resources and transportation to shelters.

The Colfax Community Network from Mile High Behavioral Healthcare will also offer transportation to the Aurora Day Resource Center Dec. 21 and 22 and will be open as a family warming center during the day.

Camp abatements are not completed during extreme weather (snowing or extreme cold - 20 degrees or below) for the safety of everyone involved. However, the city will continue its outreach efforts this week to help those experiencing homelessness to access shelter, including Pallet shelters and Aurora Day Resource Center.

Aurora sits in three counties, which are the lead health and human services agencies at the local level, and they also provide assistance to those experiencing homelessness.

For additional information, visit

Protecting your home pipes

Aurora Water offers the following tips on how to prevent your home plumbing from freezing during extreme cold:

  • Leave cabinet doors open in your bathrooms and kitchen to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing. Don't forget to move household chemicals and cleaners out of the reach of kids and pets.
  • If you have an older home or business with pipes prone to freezing, allow cold water to drip from your faucets. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Ensure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
  • If you plan to be out of town, keep your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, it may get cold enough to freeze pipes anywhere in the home or business.
  • Make sure there are no air gaps on the outside walls where air can blow on the pipes, especially in your basement.
  • Locate your master water shutoff so you can turn off your water where it comes into your home or business if a leak or break occurs.

NOTE: If you believe your pipes are frozen, the quickest solution is to call a plumber to have your pipes checked. For more information on preventing or thawing frozen pipes, or for help locating your water meter or master shutoff, call Aurora Water’s Customer Service line at 303.326.8645.

What to do if a power outage occurs?

While heavy, wet snow is more likely than extreme cold to cause electrical outages, Xcel Energy is preparing staff and services in case there are any outages related to the upcoming cold-weather event.

If you suspect a natural gas leak, get out of the home or building immediately, call 911 and then contact Xcel at 800.895.2999.

If you experience a power outage, please report it to or text “Out” to 98936.

If your power does go out, there are some steps to take:

  • Keep windows and doors shut and use towels to plug any gaps that may let in outside air.
  • Turn faucets on to a trickle to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Check on neighbors who are older or disabled and may need assistance.
  • Plan ahead to have batteries and alternative power sources available to meet your needs when the power goes out, such as a portable charger or power bank. Never run a generator indoors.
  • Have flashlights for every household member.

Protecting pets from the cold

According to city ordinance, all pets must have adequate protection from the weather and have access to food and water. The following safety tips apply to dogs and cats:

  • Limit the time pets stay outdoors during freezing temperatures.
  • A poorly insulated shelter may not provide the warmth needed to keep a pet safe when temperatures dip below freezing. Pets exposed to harsh weather conditions for an extended period of time can result in hypothermia, frostbite or even death. Further, water available to them is likely to freeze.
  • If you decide to walk your dog, do so midday when it is typically the warmest. Walks should be short to limit their exposure to the cold. Dogs with shorter fur coats, small dogs and senior pets can easily feel the effects of the cold. Providing your dog with a coat, sweater or booties can be beneficial in keeping them warm. Booties can also protect their paws from harsh chemicals used for deicing. Please consider using pet safe salt for snow melt.

Being neglectful to a pet's needs can result in a cruelty charge, a hefty fine and in some cases confiscation of the animal. If you believe a pet is being mistreated, please contact our Animal Protection Officers at 303.326.8288, option 6. (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; weekends 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) For after-hours reports, please contact police non-emergency dispatch at 303.627.3100.

For additional pet tips and shelter news, follow the Aurora Animal Shelter on Facebook at or visit

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