Bitter winter ahead, Environment Canada warns



robin kuniski/for metro calgary


A brave Stuart Arguile heads out yesterday for a chilly winter morning run along the Bow River beside Memorial Dr.

Bitter temperatures forecast by Environment Canada this winter have city homeless shelters prepared for a chillingly high number of clients.

Dave, a frontline worker for the Calgary Drop-In Centre, who didn’t want his last name used, told Metro yesterday that extended cold snaps tend to stretch the shelter’s resources.

“We’re full every day as it is, and having the extra people because of the cold means less space for everyone,” he said, adding that less space often means increased tensions between shelter clients.

Demand for warm weather gear and blankets for the homeless increases when the temperature sinks so far below zero, the former Winnipeg shelter manager said.

He notes that many of the makeshift shelters propped up by the homeless during the year aren’t able to withstand bitter temperatures, forcing many to find warmer places.

“Cold weather doesn’t create homelessness,” said Dave. “It just brings the problem to the forefront.”

CTV meteorologist Steve Rothfels told Metro yesterday Calgarians might see some short breaks, but they should expect to be in a deep freeze for much of this winter.

“We’ll definitely have some colder weather — not necessarily much colder temperatures, but the colder weather will last a little longer,” said the veteran weathercaster.

Environment Canada said Friday that Canadians should brace for a bitter winter, forecasting an unusually cold season for much of the country for the first time in more than a decade.