Anyone who needs a warm place to be this winter, whether it's because they don't have a place to live or they've just lost power for the day, can find it at public warming centers.

The Augusta Warming Center, located at St. Mark's Parish Hall, announced that it opened this week. Great timing, since today's temperatures and wind chills are at dangerous levels. But that got me thinking about other communities and whether they have similar facilities.

The warming centers cater mainly to the homeless. People who don't have a toasty warm house to go home to, where they can pull blankets around themselves while drinking piping hot coffee or chocolate. Shelters offer them a place to ward off the chill at night, but most will set the folks loose during the day to wander. That can spell sickness or even death for some on brutal days like today. So the warming centers give them a safe option for a few hours during the day.

But the centers can also offer warmth to homeowners or apartment dwellers who have lost power. As someone who once lost power for a week, including Christmas Day, I can tell you how amazing it is to have a place to just go and sit for a few hours in the warmth. (in my case it was my parents' house) Many of the warming centers will also offer coffee, tea, light refreshments, and even games or televisions to keep folks comfortable and entertained.

You can find a complete list of warming centers on the 211 Maine website. Look up your community and keep the address handy. You never know when you might need it!