Deep freeze continues throughout the Bay Area

(ABC7)

December 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Day two of a deep freeze is on the way. Temperatures have reached lows the Bay Area has not seen in 10 years. All over the Bay Area people woke-up to ice on windshields, frost on the lawn and plants, and dangerous black ice on the roads.

On Tuesday morning, Bay Area airports experienced minor delays while planes were left out in the sun to thaw it out.

The blankets of snow seen on mountain tops like Mt. Hamilton in San Jose won't disappear anytime soon. The cold snap is sticking around for at least the next 24 hours.

Morning commuters should watch out for black ice again on Wednesday morning. The CHP says if motorists hit black ice they should take their foot off the gas pedal and off the break and guide the car as best as they can with the steering wheel.

The freezing temperatures will be especially difficult for those who don't have a place to sleep. In Livermore, for example, it will leave single homeless men literally out in the cold. That is because there aren't any homeless shelters for single men in the Tri-Valley area.

A homeless man walked into a St. Vincent DePaul on Monday, looking for shelter because it was so cold, and all they could offer him was a sleeping bag.

Dennis Boring, who has been homeless for seven years, said he just froze Monday night.

For single, homeless men in Livermore, freezing is just about their only option.

Boring says it is the coldest he can remember and just like last night when there was snow, he will again be sleeping on the side of a church building.

Because in the entire Tri-Valley area, there are no drop-in homeless shelters for men like him, and that means there is nowhere else to go.

"Basically, I go to sleep early and I wake up early, then I walk the streets for a while and I go get coffee, if I can," said Boring.

The hills surrounding Livermore are still white with snow and as temperatures hit freezing downtown, Livermore's homeless population struggles to find a warm place to pass the night.

Many end up hovering somewhere together, out of sight, out of mind.

Homeless advocates like Samantha Burrows, from the Tri-Valley Haven Shelter, call them the Tri-Valley's invisible poor.

"These aren't men that just kind of wandered into the Tri-Valley community. They were born here, they were raised here, they went to high school here," says Burrows.

There aren't many more options for women, but at least there are some. A 16 bed shelter is already booked. Regina Harral will sleep in a camper with two others.

"Well we got our blankets in everything. What we do is, our heater is a pilot, we have a gas stove and we turn everything on," says Harral.

It's more than Boring has. He's just hoping to get through the night.

"I don't have any more friends on the street that have homes, so I don't know I just have to survive. I won't know," said Boring.

Harral's idea of heating her camper with a pilot light is very dangerous and strongly not advised. It just goes to show how cold it is and how desperate people are in the Bay Area.

One homeless advocate in the South Bay estimates that about half of the homeless deaths there every year are related to the elements.

Vineyard owners aren't worried about frost

Vineyard owners aren't whining about the cold spell.

A grape grower industry spokesman says the big chill sends vines into what he called a "good state of dormancy," eventually making pruning and harvesting easier. It also helps kill some winter insects.

Most local grapevines can tolerate temperatures down to 10 degrees. Low temperatures and frost don't become a threat until the spring, when the vines start budding.


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