Though the region's brief taste of a traditional Philadelphia winter is predicted to leave this afternoon, it was cold enough yesterday to cause people to search closets for long-lost hats, scarves and gloves, and for the city to canvass the streets trying to persuade the homeless to seek shelter.

Yesterday began with temperatures near 10 degrees and never rose above 25 for most of the region. Making the cold more biting was a strong northwest wind that blew at a steady 15 m.p.h. for most of the day.

Fortunately, there was no snow and no chance of it even predicted until tomorrow.

Dainette Mintz, director of the city's Office of Special Housing, said the city was under a "Code Blue" alert most of last week, an alert reinstituted Thursday when the temperatures dropped.

Mintz said there were no reported fatalities among the population of people who live on the streets but that teams from the city's Department of Behavioral Health were out 24 hours a day encouraging them to come inside.

Mintz said the Code Blue teams - four during the day, two in the evening and two overnight - are dispatched when temperatures or a combination of temperature and windchill fall below freezing.

Although many of those who live on the streets resist going into homeless shelters, Mintz said the teams also try to persuade them to go to one of three "cafes" - shelters that serve coffee and offer a warm spot to wait until morning.

They are Grace Cafe at the Arch Street United Methodist Church at Broad and Arch Streets; 315 South at the Broad Street Ministry, 315 S. Broad St.; and St. John's Hospice at 1221 Race St.

Despite yesterday's cold, it was nowhere near the record for the date: 1 degree, set in 1905. Nor was it near the balmy 72 degrees the city saw in 1950.

The weather today is supposed to moderate: partly cloudy with a high in the low 40s and an overnight low of 32. Tomorrow is predicted to be slightly colder: a high of 39, low of 17, with a chance of snow.

And don't put away the hat and gloves quite yet. The cold returns next week.

Contact staff writer Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or