City officials are preparing for the upcoming blizzard which is expected to be followed by record cold temperatures over the weekend.

Rockland Fire Chief Chris Whytock made a brief presentation Wednesday night, Jan. 3, to the Rockland City Council.

The chief said that Rockland City Hall, the public library, and the recreation center will be open Friday during normal operating hours and the library and recreation center on Saturday during the day.

Mayor Valli Geiger asked whether there was a plan for people to stay overnight in the event of power outages.

The chief said the city is looking at how to respond if that occurs and said City Hall and the recreation center could be established as shelters.

The South School on Broadway is the designated regional shelter, but it would be up to the Red Cross to decide if it should be used. The city has tested a generator that would provide power for the school and it is ready to be used.

He said he has received messages from five to six people who have offered to volunteer to help run an overnight shelter. Geiger said she has also received calls from people who are willing to provide food if overnight shelters are opened.

Ray Sisk from the Knox County Emergency Management Agency said some local lodging businesses are offering discounted rates for people who become displaced by the storm.

Special rates are being offered at: Hampton Inn of Thomaston; Tradewinds Motel in Rockland; Samoset Resort, Country Inn and Schooner Bay Motel in Rockport; Blackberry Inn, Lord Camden Inn (and their sister properties) of Camden and Point Lookout in Northport, Sisk said.

The current weather forecast calls for snow to begin in the Rockland area Thursday morning with it becoming heavy by afternoon. Winds could gust to 45 miles per hour, with a foot or more of snow falling and then being blown around by the winds.

The temperature is expected not to rise much above zero on Saturday, with overnight temperatures dropping to 10 below zero.

Central Maine Power issued a news release Wednesday saying it has crews ready to respond to outages. The utility recommends that if the power goes out, food in freezers and refrigerators can generally be preserved if the outage is less than 24 hours.

People are urged to stay off the road during the storm to allow plow drivers the ability to clear the streets.