Bitter cold is predicted for Peninsula

It’s going to be cold. Very cold.

Snowfall levels overnight from Saturday to today and the following days were in doubt early Saturday after many locations on the North Olympic Peninsula received little to no snow while other areas at higher elevations reported several inches.

But there is no doubt in predicting winter temperatures rarely seen in the Pacific Northwest.

Serenity House shelter Mike Wiley (left) sits at the front desk with clients Debra Roberts and Renee Mata (right) preparing for a week of cold weather at the Port Angeles homeless shelter on Saturday. (Keith Thorpe / Peninsula Daily News)

Arctic air from British Columbia’s Fraser River Valley has been predicted to inundate the peninsula as of today. It is projected that lows in the teenage years and highs in the 20s will stretch throughout the week.

Bitter cold and snow were reported in Whatcom County early Saturday. Meteorologist Cliff Mass predicted that east Washington will have single-digit highs and lows below zero.

“In many places in the northwest, (not all) of the low-temperature records are recorded every day,” said Mass in his blog, which was updated on Christmas Day.

“And if you want to be impressed, think about the temperature about 800 meters above the surface at Quillayute on the coast of Washington NW (925 hPa pressure level). It will be the second coldest time in the 73-year record there. “

Crowds expected heavy snowfall locally, even in the rain shadow around Sequim, overnight. The National Weather Service predicted 1 to 7 inches of snow in its winter storm warning, which remains in effect until 4 p.m. today.

That’s less than previous predictions of up to 11 inches.

Even so, the conditions are getting icy and the weather service is urging residents to travel as little as possible. Those who must are advised to have flashlights, food, and water in their vehicles.

According to the weather service, snow can fall all week from Monday, but there can be a major storm on Thursday.

With predictions of record cold temperatures, Clallam County’s Serenity House has issued a “blue flag warning,” and authorities across the peninsula have prepared shelters for those who need it.

Serenity House director Michele Lefebvre and her dog, Lei, take a look at some of the camp beds that can be set up to accommodate people seeking cold weather help.  (Keith Thorpe / Peninsula Daily News)

Serenity House director Michele Lefebvre and her dog, Lei, take a look at some of the camp beds that can be set up to accommodate people seeking cold weather help. (Keith Thorpe / Peninsula Daily News)

Public Libraries in Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks, and Clallam Bay are open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are closed on New Years Day.

From Saturday there will be more places for the unprotected.

PORT ANGELES

• Serenity House’s adult accommodation at 2321 W. 18th is open 24 hours and offers cots, meal showers and laundry services.

Every customer is tested for COVID-19; Infected people are housed in a separate room.

Those who need a ride to the shelter can be picked up in delivery vans that transport people to The Gateway on the corner of Front Street and The Gateway daily from 9:00 am to 9:10 am, 2:50 pm to 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm Pick up Lincoln Street by 6:10 p.m., said Michele Lefebvre, director of the shelter.

“During a blue flag, we do our best to get people out of the cold,” said Lefebvre.

“We don’t want anyone to get hypothermic.”

People can always call the shelter for help, she said. The number is under shelter at 360-417-0822.

• St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 510 E. Park Ave., has secure parking in its west parking lot for uninhabited people living in their vehicles.

There are no pedestrian facilities; the building will not open because of the pandemic, Deacon Keith Dorwick said. No heat is provided as people in vehicles can operate it for heat.

There is hot water available as well as instant coffee, cocoa and soup to mix together, Dorwick said. Snacks are offered – none gluten-free, he said – and a 25-pound bag of dog food is provided for those with pets. Power strips for charging phones and a portable toilet are on site.

The church’s Pop-Up Warming Center is scheduled to run until sunset on January 4th, according to the church’s website.

Volunteers are welcome, said Dorwick. The 100-cup urn the church wanted to use for hot water broke and Dorwick couldn’t find a replacement, he said Friday. The church now uses a 14-cup urn and he said he could use some help keeping it filled. Grocery deliveries that can withstand icy weather and clothing donations are also welcome.

To contact Dorwick call 337 735-4135 or send an email [email protected]

• The city of Port Angeles will host an overnight thermal center starting Monday at the Port Angeles Senior Center on Seventh and Peabody Streets, Cameron said. The opening times are from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.

SEQUIM

• Olympic Community Action Programs is hosting an overnight thermal center at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 525 N. Fifth Ave., from 9:00 pm to 7:00 am.

It is open from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. until New Year’s Eve.

FORKS

• The American Legion Post is ready, but according to Ron Cameron, city attorney and planner, no plans had been made as of Saturday.

CLALLAM BAY

• Clallam Bay Fire District 5, Eagle Crest Way 60, will be open regularly from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm based on volunteer availability, Cameron said.

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Editor-in-chief Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected]



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