Hamilton area gets hit with another blast of bitter cold
After a brief respite, the Hamilton area is getting hit with another blast of bitter cold.
Hamilton’s medical officer of health issued a cold weather alert — which occurs when the temperature drops below -15 C, or when there’s a wind chill of -20 or lower — effective early Saturday.
The same goes for Halton, where a cold warning was issued Friday night.
Dan Millar, public relations director for the Salvation Army, said he expected the agency’s shelter would be full and possibly into overflow levels over the weekend as the temperature dropped.
The shelter has 82 beds, 10 overflow beds plus the possibility of additional mattresses on the floor.
“We will be prepared to move into the cold alert mattress plan if needed,” Millar said in an email.
This is the second time in the last few weeks that Hamilton has been hit with a cold weather alert.
One issued by the medical officer of health Dec. 25 wasn’t lifted until Jan. 7.
The alert triggers special responses from the city and local agencies to find shelter for the homeless.
During the previous alert, men’s shelters in the city operated close to capacity, while the demand for services for women was even greater.
When a cold alert is issued, City of Hamilton recreation centres are available during regular hours for those who need to keep warm and the MacNab Transit Terminal stays open until HSR service ends.
Members of the public can report the location of a person in need of shelter to the Salvation Army at 905-527-1444 Ext. 0.
The city’s community cold alert response, which remains active during the cold alert, includes regular warming stations.
To see the locations on a map, visit hamilton.ca/cold.
This weekend’s chilly temperatures come after a five-day reprieve of warmer weather, which culminated with Hamilton getting hit with a mix of rain that changed to snow after a cold front passed through Friday afternoon.
Environment Canada issued a special weather statement, warning of the possibility of a brief period of freezing rain during the changeover.
But icy conditions did not seem to materialize in Hamilton.
Despite a caution from the national weather agency about the possibility of ice and snow producing poor driving conditions for the commute, Hamilton police reported they did not see an increase in collisions because of the weather.
Ontario Provincial Police said they were responding to “numerous” collisions as vehicles slid into ditches along Highway 403 between Paris and Burlington late Friday afternoon.
Ice fog rises off Cootes Paradise and the Desjardins Canal early Friday morning as 11 degree temperatures and loads of overnight rain worked to erode any remaining snow in the area.