White Rock’s extreme-weather shelter is located at Star of the Sea Hall. (File photo)

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

Temperatures forecast to hit -9 C overnight Sunday

Brace for it: the relatively mild – although decidedly wet – weather of late is forecast to take a turn for the colder this weekend, with temperatures expected to dip close to negative double digits overnight Monday.

According to Environment Canada, the mercury will drop to -6 C overnight Sunday (Jan. 12), and even lower on Monday, to -9 C.

Wednesday morning, the weather office issued a special statement advising of the potential for snow arriving on the south coast Thursday (Jan. 9) night.

“With temperatures hovering near the freezing mark, a mix of rain or snow is possible across the region,” the statement advises.

And, with temperatures expected to remain “below seasonal normals into next week, the chance of more snow remains,” the statement adds.

The shift in temperature has drawn more guests to White Rock’s extreme-weather shelter – which is open from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. at Star of the Sea Hall (15262 Pacific Ave.) – and officials say those numbers are expected to increase even further in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: White Rock’s extreme-weather shelter open ‘until further notice’

In an email distributed Wednesday, shelter co-ordinator Joan McMurtry said the warmer winter so far likely contributed to decreased use of the shelter in its first two months of operation.

Compared to last November and December, it’s been open eight fewer nights (24 this year, compared to 32 last year), with an average of 10 guests per night, compared to last year’s average of 16.

Less than two weeks into the new year, however, and “already our numbers are up,” McMurtry said.

Nightly attendance has climbed to 15 guests, and if the number reaches 20, an additional volunteer will be added to each shift, which is currently covered by two volunteers, she said.

McMurtry made a point of thanking all those in the community who’ve helped with the shelter, from the volunteers who help at the drop of a hat, to business owners who offer discounts on large purchases.

“We give a big shout out to the community. We can’t do it alone,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘Little gestures’ aim to brighten spirits at White Rock extreme-weather shelter

For more information on the shelter, email jkmcm@telus.net

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