LUMBERTON — People driving along Fayetteville Road on Friday morning might have noticed a peculiar sight — the Statue of Liberty wearing a ski mask.
At least a miniature version.
Contending with temperatures in the mid-teens and sharp winds intensified by passing cars, David Swan was forced to add a few extra layers to his Lady Liberty costume, which he wears while dancing on the curb and twirling a sign advertising Liberty Tax Service.
It was his choice.
“With the weather as cold as it is, they left it up to us to come out,” he said, removing the mask he was wearing for warmth to speak. “It’s cold, but I’ve worked in construction before, so I’m used to it.”
Swan wasn’t the only one shivering for a paycheck, as people throughout Robeson County struggled to keep warm. While many workers were fortunate enough to spend the day indoors, some were forced outside into the bitter cold as temperatures on Friday never rose above freezing.
“I’m just making a living, man; trying not to freeze to death,” said Chris Jones, an employee with contractor A&L.
The company was enlisted by Time Warner Cable to install a television line at the Minute Man convenience store on Godwin Avenue in Lumberton. To fight the cold, workers on Friday morning bundled up in multiple layers of clothing and added gloves and masks.
“You just have to grit your teeth and keep getting it. You get warm after a little while,” he said.
In response to the falling temperatures, a Lumberton homeless shelter relaxed its admission policy.
“The way the weather is now, if they come in and really need some help, we just let them come on in,” said Leroy Dixon, manager and cook for Lumberton Christian Care Center on East First Street.
Ordinarily, individuals seeking shelter have to contact the Lumberton Police Department before being allowed to stay at the facility.
“We give out blankets and a serve a hot, balanced meal,” Dixon said, adding that he has not seen a significant increase in guests at the shelter over the past few days.
“A lot of them have family and friends, and some of them do have someone they can stay with,” he said.
Robeson County residents, if they aren’t already, will be used to the frigid temperature soon, which will come with a chance of snow in the middle of next week. There was a slight change of snow in Robeson County Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in Robeson, but much to the disappointment to many residents, they awakened only to temperatures in the mid-teens and none of the fluffy stuff.
Although the highs will be slightly higher today and Sunday with temperatures expected to reach the mid-40s, early morning and overnight temperatures will remain well below freezing.
“It is certainly going to stay at or below normal temperatures for the foreseeable future …,” said Dave Loewenthal, a meteorologist with the National Weather service in Wilmington.
On Monday temperatures are expected to be in the mid-50s from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Temperatures are expected to drop into the mid-20s Tuesday morning and are not expected to reach 40 degreesagain until Thursday afternoon. There is a 30 percent chance of snow on Wednesday.