Eighteen people sought shelter in Killeen’s warming centers over the weekend as an arctic blast hovered over Central Texas.
Temperatures remained in the lower 30s over the weekend, occasionally dipping into the 20s, causing the city to open two warming stations for people seeking shelter from the harsh conditions.
The city opened the warming stations Friday at the Boys & Girls Club and the Killeen Community Center.
Hilary Shine, city spokeswoman, said the community center had 17 people over the weekend.
The Boys & Girls Club had one person, prompting the city to close that location Saturday night.
Brett Williams, parks and recreation director, said the decision is made to open the warming centers when subfreezing temperatures are expected for an extended period of time.
“The number of people coming in started out slow, but it drastically picked up,” he said. “There is definitely a need out there. I think everyone is aware that Killeen doesn’t have a homeless shelter.
“Looking out for our community is pretty much what it comes down to, because if someone doesn’t have a place to stay in certain weather conditions, it can be dangerous.”
Williams said the center has been functioning around the clock as a shelter since 10 a.m. Friday. Staff also provided food for the warming center’s occupants.
This is the second time this year warming stations were opened in the city, Williams said.
“I’m glad we could do something to help,” he said.
The Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., will remain open through 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The community center was originally planned to close as a warming center Monday, but the decision was made to remain open after staff re-evaluated weather conditions.
According to the National Weather Service, highs today are expected to be in the lower 40s with lows around 26 degrees.
Temperatures are expected to rise slightly on Wednesday with a high of 50 degrees and a low of 30 degrees, and on Thursday the high is expected to be around 45 degrees with the low around 36.