White Rock’s extreme-weather shelter (15262 Pacific Ave) use increased this week. (File photo)

White Rock weather-shelter numbers on the rise

24 people – the most so far this season – hunkered down at Star of the Sea Hall overnight Wednesday

Temperatures that dipped to -9.6 C in White Rock – not including wind chill – drove 24 people to seek overnight warmth at the city’s extreme-weather shelter Wednesday.

The number was a full third more people than volunteers greeted to Star of the Hall on Tuesday – when 18 checked in for the night – and 14 per cent more than the 21 welcomed in out of the cold on Monday.

Volunteer co-ordinator Joan McMurtry confirmed that Wednesday’s 24 was the most people seen at the White Rock site since the facility began opening for the season in November. Only one other night has crept close to the same level, logging 22 guests, she said.

Surrey’s extreme-weather shelters have also been busy, with those in the City Centre area operating “all over-capacity,” co-ordinator Jonquil Hallgate said.

READ MORE: As temperature dips, numbers rise at White Rock extreme-weather shelter

READ MORE: ‘Not wanting to turn anyone away’: Surrey’s extreme weather shelters close to capacity

According to Environment Canada, overnight winds on Wednesday gusted up to 40 km/h in the seaside city, with the blasts pushing the temperature to a low of -11 C.

The chill was not the coldest recorded on a Jan. 15 in the past 100 years. That occurred in 1950, when temperatures dipped to -14.4 C, according to historical data. In stark contrast, just two years ago, Jan. 15 was the warmest the date has been since 1929, when the mercury climbed well above the freezing mark, to 14.3 C.

Today’s (Thursday) forecast high is 1 C, far warmer than the coldest Jan. 16 seen in the city in the last 100 years (in 1950, temperatures on this date dipped to -13.9 C), but still far colder than the warmest of this date since 1929 – a balmy 12.8 C – recorded in 1944.

The most snow to fall in White Rock on this day since 1929 was recorded in 1932, at 17.8 cm.

– files from Lauren Collins



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

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