Bay Area residents warned about cold temps

(KGO)
December 17, 2012 6:14:38 PM PST
With the proliferation of home solar systems, a warning is going out about the cold snap expected in the Bay Area on Tuesday. Flooding has become part of the norm when major storms hit, especially when high tides coincide as happened last week, but the freezing temperatures expected late Tuesday night and early Wednesday pose a new threat -- damage to landscaping and to rooftop solar systems.

Eddy Loayza is a pool and landscape contractor in San Jose. "If you have solar plumbing like solar for the swimming pools, you have to empty all the panels to make sure they don't freeze because if they freeze, then you're going to have leaks all over the place in the spring time," he said. Loayza also warns that a thin layer of ice can form in pools. As the ice expands, it can crack tile work, especially in older pools.

A cold snap can also be hazardous to the homeless who turn to cold weather shelters. The Boccardo Center is one of three such facilities operated by EHC LifeBuilders in Santa Clara County. The capacity there is 250, but an additional 100 floor mats are set out when ice cold weather causes demand to peak. "The lottery system that we normally have in place is not a factor during these extreme cold weather nights. We try to serve all that come in that are seeking shelter for the night," Outreach Coordinator Vanessa Beretta said.

Blankets, towels, and soap are provided, along with hot meals. The homeless also can wash and dry their own clothing during their overnight stay. Clients say the opportunity to escape freezing weather is a lifesaver since hostile conditions can lead to sickness. Homeless shelter client Mark Wheeler knows that from personal experience. "All it takes is a little bit of rain to get your clothes wet and then you're freezing, hypothermia, and there are people who die out there. It's very sad," he said.

Armories in Sunnyvale and Gilroy are also going to be open Tuesday night serving as cold weather shelters.


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