Longview’s homeless shelters are preparing for an influx of guests as temperatures plunge below freezing this weekend and snowfall is expected Monday.
Brian Livingston, Hiway 80 Rescue Mission managing executive director, said the shelter is expecting more people to show up over the next few nights.
“We just gotta stay prepared,” Livingston said Thursday. “We’ll have mats available on the floor if we run out of beds.”
The men’s shelter typically sees a significant influx when cold weather hits.
“We are going to have our doors open,” Livingston said.
Hiway 80 and its Women’s & Families Shelter are collecting hats, coats, scarves, gloves and more to distribute.
Director of Women and Family Services Melissa Black said staff members are doing anything and everything they can to help residents endure the cold weather.
“Jackets, coats, hoodies, tennis shoes,” she said. “It’s always unpredictable, so we always try to be prepared. Now, we’re making sure we have plenty of hygiene items on hand, plenty of blankets and pillows.”
Black said the shelter is in need of rock salt as the winter weather gets worse.
“Any donation, whether a jacket or a can of soup or monetary, it’s going to be used to go directly to our people,” she said. “We can’t do what we do without the help of the community. This is a great time to help us meet some very real needs.”
It’s a blessing to have those non-perishable items and clothing on hand, Black said.
“If you need them they’re there, and with Texas weather, you never know what’s coming,” Black said. “We want to be able to face whatever it is.”
Salvation Army Shelter Manager Keith Gibson said his facility is prepared.
“We have room,” he said.
Gibson added that the shelter is always in need of hygiene items, towels and sheets.
“We always need something in the shelter,” he said.
Freezing rain is possible across much of East Texas this morning and will change into rain as temperatures warm up a bit. More freezing rain and sleet are possible today into Saturday with a low of 31 degrees overnight.
There is a chance of sleet before noon Saturday, and temperatures will rise to about 38 degrees and windy. Wind gusts as high as 20 mph are expected.
Temperatures will dip again to about 27 degrees Saturday into Sunday, and sleet is expected again Sunday afternoon with a high near 31 degrees.
Chances of snow return Sunday night, possibly mixed with sleet as temperatures drop to 20 degrees early Monday.
Snow will continue as temperatures only reach the mid-20s Monday before plummeting to a low of about 10 degrees Monday night into Tuesday morning.
The coldest temperatures are expected Monday into Tuesday and could drop into the single digits.
“There is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding accumulations,” the National Weather Service said Thursday afternoon in its hazardous weather outlook. The weather service stated that a snowfall accumulation of at least 3 to 6 inches is possible in the Longview and Tyler areas.
The high for Tuesday is expected to stay below freezing at 30 degrees with partly cloudy skies. Temperatures will drop Tuesday night to the lower 20s.
Rain, snow, freezing rain and sleet are likely again Wednesday with a high in the upper 30s.