Philly declares Code Blue due to frigid temperatures

Here’s a look at the forecast, and what you need to know about the citywide declaration.

tents in the train station concourse

People with no homes to go to pitch their tents on the concourse at the 16th Street PATCO station to get out of the cold. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

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Philly’s Office of Homeless Services has declared a Code Blue as the city gears up for frigid temperatures this weekend.

During a Code Blue — when temperatures feel near or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, or when there’s precipitation and the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower — the city implements special measures to keep people who are experiencing homelessness safe. That includes 24-hour outreach to find unhoused people, transporting them to safe indoor spaces, and opening all available beds within the city’s emergency housing network.

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By early Friday morning, the wind chill is expected to dip below 20 degrees, per the National Weather Service.

It’s been more than 700 days since an inch of snowfall dusted the City of Brotherly Love, and predictions from the NWS don’t expect that much to hit the region this weekend.

“The chance is actually pretty high that will actually see a couple of snowflakes,” meteorologist Cameron Wunderlin told WHYY News on Thursday. “What is not likely or there is a very small chance of is that there’s going to be accumulation with this.”

Wunderlin said with the multiple low-pressure systems hitting the region, models are showing there could be more to come next week.

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“A lot of people have been focusing on this with the storm system for this weekend,” Wunderlind said. “Where really the focus needs to be for the system that is going to occur on Tuesday.”

That system, while not bringing freezing temps initially, is expected to bring strong winds and could cause flooding within the region.

If residents see a person who appears to be unhoused during a Code Blue, they are urged to contact the city’s Homeless Outreach hotline at 215-232-1984.

If you or someone you know is in need, here’s a breakdown of extreme cold resources across the Delaware Valley.

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