Cold Wave

A deep freeze in January, which included a mid-month snow storm, pushed electricity use in North Carolina to record highs, says Duke Energy.
David Boraks / WFAE

Thanks to unusually low temperatures, January is turning out to be a record month for electricity use in North Carolina.  It also could mean higher bills for customers, according to Duke Energy. 

Adam Calderone of Urban Ministry Center's outreach team talks to a homeless man on South Tryon Street Wednesday.
David Boraks / WFAE

An estimated 1,400 people are homeless in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. Finding them is the biggest challenge for those who provide shelter and other services. That job falls to the outreach staff from the Urban Ministry Center -- a sort of emergency response team. WFAE's David Boraks rode along on Wednesday as they checked on homeless people uptown.

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Mecklenburg County will open an emergency shelter for the homeless at the Grady Cole Center on Kings Drive for the next couple of days as winter weather returns to the Charlotte area.

DAVID BORAKS / WFAE

 

Updated Sunday, January 7, 2018: 3:20 p.m. - Mecklenburg County officials said today that an overflow shelter would be open Sunday night at the Tuckasegee Recreation Center, located at 4820 Tuckasegee Road. 

Temperatures dropped into the single digits around Charlotte early Sunday, as a week-long cold wave hung on a bit longer. Shelters and agencies that serve homeless people have been taking extra steps to offer a warm place to spend the night.  The Men's Shelter of Charlotte provided protection from the cold to an extra 63 people on Saturday night. 

Clients outside the Men's Shelter on North Tryon Street Friday. The shelter has hosted more people than usual this week.
David Boraks / WFAE

Updated Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018
The long cold snap is keeping homeless shelters in Charlotte busy this week. Shelters were close to full again Thursday and again Friday, when the temperature dipped to 14 degrees.  Saturday's forecast calls for a low around 12 early Sunday. County officials say more beds were available Friday night, as more churches hosted homeless people through the Urban Ministry's Room in the Inn Program.  

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Updated 3:33 p.m.
Mecklenburg County homeless shelters are adding beds and relaxing their rules this week to accommodate more people as overnight temperatures dip into the teens or below.  County officials estimate that more than a thousand people have been housed the past few nights - well above normal - and there are still open beds. 

Mark Rumsey / WFAE

Dressing in layers and other cold-weather protections are in order the next several days, as a cold wave gets a grip on the Charlotte region. Highs mostly in the 30s and lows in the teens are expected through the week.