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Weather chilly but not charities and shelters

December 01, 2004

Deepa Bharath

NEWPORT-MESA -- This is no winter wonderland.

But don't let your jaw hit the ground this morning when you see

frost on the front lawn.

That's right -- frost.

Record low temperatures chilling out Southern California since

Saturday have been largely caused by a combination of clear skies and

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dry air, said Noel Isla, a meteorologist with the National Weather

Service in San Diego.

"I wouldn't call it unusual," he said. "It happens from time to

time."

Newport Beach recorded a low of 39 degrees Monday night and early

Tuesday morning. The lowest for this time of year in Newport had been

42 degrees in 1973, Isla said. Numbers were not available for Costa

Mesa, but he said John Wayne Airport recorded a low of 37 degrees

during the same time.

A frost advisory was in effect from 10 p.m. on Tuesday through 8

a.m. today, Isla said.

"After [today], it should get better and start warming up nicely,"

he said.

The cold temperatures kept local charities busy in what is already

their hectic time of year.

Sharon Hetzel, a volunteer with Share Our Selves in Costa Mesa,

said many people have been coming into the Westside charity for food.

"That's not unusual," she said. "But it seems like more people

have been calling over the last couple of days."

Share Our Selves also hands out warm clothing to the needy.

"We've also had lines of people waiting for jackets," Hetzel said.

The Orange Coast Interfaith Shelter in Costa Mesa, the only

shelter for the homeless in the area, has also been experiencing a

higher call volume over the last two or three days, Executive

Director Michael Arnot said.

"The demand has been high," he said. "We definitely had an

increased number of calls [on Monday]."

The shelter has a hotline where those in need can call and make

reservations, Arnot said. It is the only shelter in the county that

focuses on homeless families, he said. And the shelter provides hot

meals every night and distributes jackets and coats to those who need

them, Arnot said.

"We've been preparing, so we can accommodate more people, so they

don't have to be out on the street in this cold weather," he said.

* DEEPA BHARATH is the enterprise and general assignment reporter.

She may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or by e-mail at

deepa.bharath@latimes.com.

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