Below-zero wind chill temperatures forced people inside Tuesday 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 has 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 on Tuesday, the coldest temperatures are expected today. A wind chill advisory started at midnight and continues until 5 p.m. today.
The National Weather Service expects a high of 13 degrees and a wind chill factor of minus 16 today due to steady northeast winds. The nighttime low is forecast at minus 1. Winds will die down Thursday, but high temperatures will continue in the teens.
Spokane Public Schools sent out a recommendation to keep students inside for recess today 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’s 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.”