With near-record cold temperatures forecast for Port Alberni this week, the Bread of Life and Salvation Army are expanding the hours at their warming centre to help people get out of the cold.
Environment Canada warns that arctic outflow winds and falling temperatures are expected for East Vancouver Island this week. While Port Alberni will be spared the worst of the cold, temperatures are still expected to remain “below seasonal norms” until they start to increase on Wednesday, Dec. 29.
According to Chris Alemany of Alberniweather.ca, the weather station at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport recorded its lowest ever temperatures for Dec. 26 and Dec. 27. On Sunday, the temperature was -12.3 degrees Celsius, compared to the previous record of -10.5 degrees Celsius in 1996. On Monday, the temperature was -15.3 degrees Celsius, compared to -9.1 degrees Celsius in 1996.
However, the weather station at the airport was only installed in 1994. The coldest December temperature ever recorded in Port Alberni was -18.3 degrees Celsius in 1968, measured at Robertson Creek. Alemany says the coldest ever temperature recorded in Port Alberni was -25 degrees Celsius.
The Bread of Life, located on Third Avenue, has a warming centre that will be available for people to get off the streets and out of inclement weather, have a warm drink and use a bathroom.
The warming centre will be open 24 hours until Saturday, Jan. 1 at 6 a.m. Starting New Year’s Day, the centre will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Environment Canada warns that anyone who is not dressed warmly outdoors is at risk of frostbite and hypothermia in this cold weather. It recommends minimizing exposed skin with hats, scarves and mittens or gloves.