The Salvation Army opened 15 extreme weather beds.

More shelter beds open at Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries

The Salvation Army’s 25-bed emergency shelter is also full.

With daytime lows hovering near 0 C, an extreme weather alert has been activated in Maple Ridge, said Amelia Norrie, with Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries.

That happened on Sunday and allows an extra 15 mats to be put out so people currently on the street, have somewhere warm to sleep.

Norrie, though, said that doesn’t mean that 15 mats are put out every night. That depends on the need each day.

The Salvation Army’s 25-bed emergency shelter is also full.

Environment Canada cancelled its snowfall warning mid-Monday morning after motorists were warned earlier to expect five centimetres.

While the predictions didn’t come true, all this week is expected to be cold and wet.

The cool temperatures are directing more people towards the Ridge Meadows Ministries on Lougheed Highway and 222nd Street.

“We’re definitely seeing more people for our meal times,” said Norrie.

With more demand, it’s more important that more people volunteer to watch over a Christmas kettle this year so that the Salvation Army has some needed cash for its programs.

“We need bell ringers. Our numbers are lower at this point than last year.”

About 15,000 volunteer hours are needed in order to bring in enough cash to make the $100,000 goal.

“As cooler weather moves in throughout the province, communities have almost 1,000 extreme weather shelter beds ready to be activated if conditions threaten the health and safety of homeless individuals,” according to B.C. Housing.

The additional spaces are available from now until March 31 when a community issues an extreme weather alert.

Communities decide what weather conditions warrant an alert and how many spaces to activate on a given night.

Monday’s snowfall affected more western parts of Metro Vancouver than Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, where streets were bare.

“Today’s snowstorm continues to have a significant impact on transit service in Metro Vancouver, making travel difficult for our customers,” TransLink said late Monday.

“Our buses, however, are experiencing significant delays across the region and HandyDART is currently operating at essential service levels only.”

With the cool weather around for the week, ICBC is advising motorists to slow down, noting that posted speed limits are for ideal conditions only.

Allow twice the normal braking distance on snowy or slushy roads.

Other tips:

• use your headlights in poor weather and reduced visibility at all times to help you see ahead and be seen by other drivers;

• look twice for pedestrians crossing the road, particularly when visibility is poor;

•  if you drive over black ice and start to skid, ease off the accelerator, and look and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go – don’t brake;

• make sure tires are properly inflated, check the condition of your windshield wiper blades, top up wiper fluid, fill up gas tank, pack an emergency kit with flashlight and extra batteries;

• check road and weather conditions on drivebc.ca.

 

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