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Utility companies prepared for gusty winds, freezing temps

Eversource crews are prepared for the possibility of power outages.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — People braved the cold Friday night, trying to get out of the house before it got even colder. Utility companies were also outside, preparing to respond to any potential wind damage from expected gusts.

"It's freezing cold and I wish that I had a hat or a hood on my jacket because I think it would make me warmer," said Mia Reed of Madison.

As FOX61's weather team is on the Weather Watch, we're seeing wind gusts that could reach up to 35-40 MPH for Friday night, and the Windchill will reach below zero by Saturday morning.

"Especially because it's a long weekend I would love for it to be a little warmer to do something fun but I do not want to do anything," said Michelle Wyskiel of Branford.

RELATED: 'Keep winter coming' | Ski business in Connecticut heat up as temperatures drop

In West Hartford, even bitter cold temperatures aren't a problem at Rizzuto's.

"The heaters hang from the ceiling and they're electric," said Lynn Armington, general manager at the restaurant. "I mean it's not like sitting in your living room but everybody loves them," she said.

Even with strong winds expected, there's no concern about them blowing over. 

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However, all eyes are on the possibility of power outages due to the strong winds. Eversource has crews ready around the state, even calling for extra help from local contractors and out-of-state crews.

"It's all hands on deck, we've been following the forecasts. We've been putting our teams together, our equipment is ready and we'll be ready to respond as quickly and as safely as we can if there's an issue," said Mitch Gross, Eversource spokesman.

RELATED: Lamont activates severe cold weather protocol

With dangerously cold temperatures, there's a real sense of urgency to make sure people are able to stay warm. Gov. Ned Lamont has activated the state's severe weather protocol which makes it easier for anyone who doesn't have a warm place to stay to find a warming center or a shelter.

The Salvation Army has both.

"When the weather conditions do get harsh like we're about to see this weekend we do remain open 24 hours because we just know that these conditions are not safe," said Lisa Cretella, director of homeless services for The Salvation Army. "Folks can just come to our warming centers we are open and they can just show up," she said.

If you or someone you know needs to find a warming center near you, call 211.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at gmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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