Below-zero wind-chill temperatures forced people inside today to warm up despite the tempting sunshine.
Meal sites where homeless people gather filled up more than usual for this time of month.
“When we first opened, there were no open chairs,” said Shirley Murinko, who runs the Christian-based City Gate charity with her husband, John. “We’re twice as full.”
Debra Trahan and Stoner Cole stopped by for a warm meal and coffee. “This is good,” Trahan said after sipping her coffee. “Anything warm is good.”
The couple have been sleeping in their car since late last month along with their service dogs: Sophia Loren and Sir Mick Jagger. Trahan and Cole became homeless after losing work as property managers.
Although below-zero wind chill hit the Inland Northwest today, the coldest temperatures are expected Wednesday. A wind chill advisory will start at midnight and continue until 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The National Weather Service is expecting a high of 13 degrees and a wind-chill factor of minus-16 Wednesday due to steady northeast winds. The nighttime low temperature is forecast at -1. Winds will die down Thursday, but high temperatures will continue in the teens.
Warming centers have been activated. Beds are available for single men at the Salvation Army Community Center; families with children can go to the Salvation Army Resource Center; beds are available to youth at ages 13-17 at Crosswalk, and Hope House Shelter is open for single women.
Spokane Public Schools sent out a recommendation to keep students inside for recess Wednesday due to even colder forecast temperatures.
The Spokane Regional Health District, city of Spokane and Spokane County released a joint warning regarding the weather.
“When the weather is extremely cold, and especially if there are high winds, try to stay indoors,” said Dr. Joel McCullough, SRHD health officer. “To avoid hypothermia and frostbite, make any trips outside as brief as possible, and remember that by preparing for winter emergencies, the risks of weather-related health problems can be reduced.”