It feels like -26 degrees Celsius outside, and the health unit is issuing a cold weather alert

It feels like -26 degrees Celsius outside, and the health unit is issuing a cold weather alert

After a weekend of cold temperatures, the Middlesex-London Health Unit issued its first cold weather alert of the season, and Environment Canada says the winter blast will continue until at least midweek.

The area saw bitter wind chill values ​​over the weekend. On Monday, Londoners woke up to a temperature of minus 18 degrees Celsius, which sounds more like minus 26 degrees Celsius with the cold wind blowing.

“It’s cold out there,” said Sarah Campbell, executive director of Ark Aid Mission, which runs several overnight rest stops and drop-in centers for people. “If you get cold, you need to get inside and get warm.” Who do not have a warm place to sleep. “The cold is a health problem. Exposure to it is a health problem.”

Abiodun Lawal, Ark Aid Mission worker, cleans cots at the emergency shelter to prepare them for the next night. (Kate Dubinsky/CBC)

The health unit issues cold weather alerts when forecast temperatures are expected to fall to -15 degrees or below, or when Environment Canada advises that wind chill values ​​are expected to be -20 degrees or below, health officials said in a statement.

List of heating centers in the City of London

The alert will remain in place until wind chill values ​​rise above the health unit threshold of -20. This is likely to continue until Wednesday, according to Environment Canada.

On Monday morning, Ronald Scott Parker was one of 24 people who woke up after a night on a mattress at the Cronin-Warner emergency shelter at Queens Avenue and William Street. Having a place there means Parker won’t have to wander around all night just to keep warm.

“It’s very nice to come here. It’s quiet, no arguments, no fighting,” Parker said. “This cold snap is really hurting people and there aren’t enough places for people to go.”

Homeless man smiling at the camera.
Ronald Scott Parker, who has been homeless for three-and-a-half years, says rent is too high for many people in London. (Kate Dubinsky/CBC)

Today’s forecast is a mix of sun and cloud, with wind chills remaining at -20°C in the afternoon. The cold wave continues throughout the night, with gusts starting after midnight and ending in the morning. Strong winds are expected to blow on Tuesday morning with temperatures close to -22 degrees Celsius.

The cold is expected to ease on Wednesday, with a maximum temperature of -10 degrees Celsius and a 30 percent chance of flurries. These fluctuations continue on Thursday, Friday and into the weekend, with temperatures ranging from -10°C to -12°C.

Campbell said more emergency shelter beds will be available next week and by the end of January, as part of the city’s “whole community response,” which brings together homeless agencies, hospitals, health care providers and others to try to create more permanent shelter beds. Solutions to homelessness.

“Cronyn-Warner will be available 24/7 by the 29th of this month, let’s move up to 30 people sleeping. At this location, people can stay one night, and if they’re successful, they can stay the next night. This allows people to sleep,” Campbell said. : “Settle down and start thinking about next steps, getting things together for housing or a more sustainable solution.”

The Hamilton Road cafe has 15 spots for people to come to during the night to stay warm, although capacity was at 22 Sunday night due to a cold weather advisory. There is also a respite at the Ark Aid Mission location on Dundas Street and a women-only option at My Sister’s Place.

“I can’t afford the rent”

Parker, who has been without a home for three and a half years, said getting a safe, permanent place to live with very little money was impossible. “It’s hard. You can’t afford the rent,” he said.

“It’s too high right now, and they want first and last month’s rent, a co-locator, all of that. Trying to find a place that’s affordable with no cockroaches or bed bugs or holes in the walls or broken windows, it’s really, really hard.”

During severe cold cases, the health unit advises the following:

  • Stay in warm buildings as much as possible, including your home, your friend or family’s place, and public buildings such as shopping malls, libraries, etc.
  • Wear multiple layers of loose clothing when outdoors and cover all exposed skin, because in extreme cold, frostbite can occur within minutes.
  • Drink warm fluids but avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, as they cause the body to lose heat more quickly.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise while out in the cold as much as possible.
  • Know the weather forecast and avoid traveling when severe weather is forecast.
  • Prepare your home and car for winter.

Seek help if you feel any of the following symptoms of a cold:

  • Hypothermia: Symptoms/signs include shivering, fatigue, confusion, jerking/uncoordinated movements, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness.
  • Frostbite: Symptoms/signs include white/gray skin, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, or numbness.

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