Bay Area braces for coldest night of the cold snap

The lowest temperatures of this week's cold snap are expected Sunday night. A Freeze Warning is in effect from 10 p.m. Sunday to 9 a.m. on Monday.

Officials in the East Bay are warning customers that unprotected water pipes are in danger of freezing. According to the Dublin San Ramon Services District, some in the Tri-Valley area already woke up without water this week due to burst pipes.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District recommends wrapping frozen pipes in a towel and slowly pouring warm, but not boiling, water over them to defrost them. They say to never use a torch or open flame.

EBMUD officials advise homeowners not to try to protect pipes by leaving faucets open, as this wastes water. Instead, they recommend wrapping pipes and shutting off valves to irrigation systems after draining water from the pipes.

A welcome delivery of warm coats arrived at the St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Outreach Center at Bryant and 5th streets in San Francisco Sunday. The thousands of coats were donated by Sikh Families of America.

"We're fortunate to have so much, we want to share with the people that are not as fortunate," said Iqbal Barn with Sikh Families of America.

In places like Walnut Creek, the temperature struggled to get out of the 30s by noon. But the frigid temperatures did not keep skaters away at the city's outdoor ice rink.

"It's just starting the Christmas season off," Walnut Creek resident Kelly Hess said. "You have to do it, even if it's cold."

Overnight the CHP reported black ice on westbound Highway 24 out of the Caldecott Tunnel. Officers say if you hit it, don't brake and slow down.

In San Francisco, the cold kept many tourists indoors. That wasn't good for Rob Saybolt's pedicab business. Despite offering a blanket on the ride, it's been a tough sell.

"It makes it more challenging for sure cause you have to overcome the cold somehow," Saybolt said. "You know, you have to make it more appealing than being inside."

We found some people brave enough to rent bikes to trek across the Golden Gate Bridge. Steve Pleasants and his family actually came to San Francisco looking for cold weather

"We've just come from 100 degree heat in Australia," Pleasants said. "So, down here, you just have to make sure you're dressed up for it. And as long as you stay in the sun it's fine."

This family was all smiles as they bundled up and headed out.

South Bay shelter working to help more people as temps drop

Officials in the South Bay are working to save lives as the temperature drops low enough to create life-threatening conditions.

The brutal cold has proved fatal for several homeless men in Santa Clara County this week and the people who run local shelters are trying to prevent more deaths.

In addition to all the beds, they had to bring in mats to handle the extra people who will need a place out of the cold. About 225 people are expected at the Boccardo shelter in San Jose.

"I have people that are out there in the creeks and stuff that are freezing. I worry about them because I don't want nobody to pass away like it has been for the past couple of days, you know," shelter resident Tammi Martinez said.

Four homeless men froze to death in Santa Clara County this week even though there was enough space at local shelters.

"It was a very sad week for us as homeless service providers that four people died on the streets, particularly since we opened the cold weather shelters on Monday and there is capacity available for the homeless right now," EHC Lifebuilders spokesperson Hilary Barroga said.

Teams of social workers visited local railroad tracks and other spots where homeless people are known to stay, trying to coax them into the shelters for the night. But many homeless prefer their familiar surroundings outdoors.

"It worries me a lot actually that people aren't going to come in because I don't know if people realize exactly how dangerous it is outside for them right now," Barroga said.

The recent deaths have prompted Santa Clara County residents to donate clothes, blankets and cash to prevent any more loss of life.

"That shouldn't happen in San Jose, such a rich city that you can't have people dying outside. That's not OK," San Jose resident Melissa Scadina said.

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(Bay City News contributed to this report)

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