Canada descends into a deep freeze as frigid temperatures continue
Published Tuesday, January 22, 2013 1:15PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:07AM EST
Canada’s first deep freeze of the season is promising to be a lengthy one as temperatures in several cities across the nation remained well below the freezing mark Tuesday.
Residents in parts of Quebec, Ontario, the Atlantic provinces and in the north bundled up and braced for high winds, unseasonably frigid temperatures and in some areas, snow squalls.
On Tuesday, parts of southern Manitoba gained a small reprieve when a wind chill warning issued by Environment Canada ended. However, Winnipeg continued to shiver with a whopping wind chill temperature of -37 C.
A day before, the cold air caused parking meters to stop working in Winnipeg, and Canada Post was unable to deliver mail to about 18,000 customers when trucks wouldn’t start.
In Toronto, an “Extreme Cold Weather Alert” remained in effect Tuesday, as temperatures dipped to -13C. Shelters opened extra spaces in an effort to get homeless people indoors.
Montreal also funded more beds in city shelters as wind chill reached -32C overnight Monday. By Tuesday afternoon an extreme wind chill warning was in effect for most the Quebec province.
In Saskatoon, a 20 km/h wind blew through the city, pushing the mercury down to -43 C -- cold even by Saskatoon standards.
On Monday, garbage pickup was postponed for a number of routes in Saskatoon because the hydraulics on the city’s garbage trucks weren’t functioning.
In Ottawa, high winds and flash freezes closed several roadways to vehicle traffic on Sunday, and the bitter wind prompted the city to issue a frostbite advisory. By Tuesday, temperatures had reached a wind chill of -28 C.
Environment Canada warned that in extreme cold temperatures, exposed skin can be frostbitten in less than 10 minutes.
In St. John’s, temperatures were not expected to drop quite as low as in Ontario or Western Canada, however Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for the city, as blowing snow with wind gusts of 70 km/h were forecasted into the late evening hours.
In New Brunswick, however, residents of Edmundston awoke Tuesday to a temperature of -35 C -- a number that didn’t figure in the wind chill.
Meteorologist Cindy Day said New Brunswick is under a dome of arctic air that currently encompasses Ontario, Quebec and southern Manitoba.
The extreme cold is likely to last for several more days, she said.
“There’s a bit of a moderating trend coming Saturday, Sunday with perhaps a weak weather system so not quite as cold by the end of the week but the next few days are going to be bitter.”
After a period of unseasonably high temperatures a few weeks ago, Day said Canadians have been taken by surprise by this sustained period of chilly weather.
However, this time of year is typically the coldest, she said.