Baby, it's cold outside.

Well, it was yesterday at least, and forecasters said that after getting smacked with a cold front that gripped the city with freezing temperatures and icy wind chills yesterday, we can expect a weekend break before the temperatures drop again next week.

"This cold air is going to leave as quickly as it came in," said Dave Bowers, senior forecaster with AccuWeather.

To take special care of the city's homeless population, a "code blue" was issued on Wednesday by the Office of Shelter Services, and yesterday they said the alert was expected to last until the weekend.

According to Central Police Division Sgt. William Hall, code blues generally go into effect when the National Weather Bureau predicts that the wind chill will be below 20 degrees and/or if there is expected precipitation with temperatures below 32 degrees.

"It's a coordination of a lot of different city agencies but usually the Office of Shelter Services will sit down with outreach services and make the determination," Hall said.

Hall said that they cannot always force people who live on the streets into shelters but the Police Department does their best to keep people safe.

"If their mental capacities are fine, we can't force them in," he said.

"We can only force them if we have a court-ordered transport which is a mandatory requirement that the person be taken to a shelter," Hall said.

"But generally, it's more beneficial for them to take advantage of our offer and get a warm place to sleep for the night."

AccuWeather said this weekend's temperatures will stay steady today and tomorrow at about 40 degrees with lots of sunshine. But don't put those gloves and hats away just yet because temperatures are expected to take a dip again at the beginning of next week.

"It is going to be below freezing temperatures at least for Monday and Tuesday," Bowers said.

Leticia Egea-Hinton, director of the city's Office of Supportive Housing, said that if you see someone who needs assistance during cold weather, call the city's outreach hot line at 215-232-1984. *