“We have two outreach teams driving around town just trying to get the people warm safe,” said Bob McElroy, President of Alpha Project.
In total Alpha Project, one of San Diego’s primary providers of homeless shelters handed out an estimated 1500 blankets Friday.
“We’re just trying to exchange wet clothing and wet blankets for dry stuff,” said McElroy.
As Alpha Project worked its way through city streets, the National Weather Service said the extra blankets and coats will be in great need.
“The cold front that went through delivered the coldest air mass we’ve seen this entire year,” said Alex Tardy, Meteorologist. “We basically have a pattern change that brought very cold arctic air. It’s not unusual for this time of year, but it brought it all the way down from western Canada, carved it across California.”
A polar blast that left the west coast freezing, but out east it was the opposite weather pattern.
“Now they’re seeing minimum temperatures in the 30’s, maximum temperatures in 40’s and the coast maybe in the 50’s, they like to call it the big thaw,” said Tardy.
While the East thaws, the West will bundle up.
“If you’re going to make any precautions now’s the time for the weekend,” said Tardy. “A lot of times, the coldest temperatures occur after the storm.”
“The reality is there’s going to be a lot of people out there tonight under bridges, in river beds literally freezing,” said McElroy.
Which is why it’s important for Alpha Project teams to hit the streets now. A simple blanket could mean the difference between life and sometimes death.
“There were two people that died last year under the 17th and Imperial bridge when it got really super cold. We’re trying to make sure that doesn’t happen again.,” said McElroy.
Alpha Project is in need of blankets and warm clothing. Donations can be made at the shelter located at 16th and Newton in the East Village.