Canada's Condominium Magazine
Canadians shrug off most weather, especially the cold — but during extreme cold alerts the risk to vulnerable friends, family, neighbours and fellow Canadians is high. Each year, many people die due to cold-related issues.
The GTA still faces a bitterly cold week (-17 degrees celcius, feels like -27; –26 at night) at least until Sunday, when it finally “warms up” to a relatively balmy –5 degrees — when, typical of Canadian weather, the warmer weather brings snow.
[For advice on venturing out in the cold — including a video from CAA if you are venturing out by car — see below.]
Advice for going out in the cold
During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, members of the public are encouraged to take the following precautions:
• Check the weather report before going outside.
• Dress in layers, making sure your outer layer is windproof, and cover exposed skin.
• Wear a hat, warm mittens or gloves, and warm boots.
• Stay dry. Your risk of hypothermia is much greater if you are wet.
• Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for your clothes instead of cotton, because cotton stops keeping you warm once it gets wet.
• Seek shelter if you normally spend long periods outside. Depending on the wind chill, exposed skin can freeze in minutes.
• Drink warm fluids, other than alcohol.
• Warm up by taking regular breaks in heated buildings when enjoying winter activities outside.
• Consider rescheduling outdoor activities, or limiting time outdoors, during colder temperatures, especially if it’s windy.
• Heat your home to at least 21 degrees Celsius if infants or elderly people are present.
• Call or visit vulnerable friends, neighbours and family to ensure they are not experiencing any difficulties related to the weather.
Out in the car? Keep CAA paid up
The Canadian Automobile Association in Ontario cautioned of high call volume due to the harsh weather. They even issued their own advisory, submitted via social media on December 27th, announced “higher than average call volumes” and stated that high risk calls are being prioritized, while others have the “option to get your own service and submit receipt for reimbursement consideration.”
“The extreme cold is causing higher than normal call volume. Our priority is to service our members on the side of the road. At this time, we are unable to provide an estimated wait time for service at home due to extreme volume… Please note, this may tak up to three hours. You have the option to obtain your own service and submit your receipt for reimbursement.”
The Canadian Automobile Association also released the following video, providing “4 Winter Hacks to Get You Through the Season.”
According to Environment Canada, it is unusual to experience a wave of frigid air that sticks around for this long. Meteorologist Alexandre Parent said the Prairies, Ontario, and western Quebec would all be affected, while northern Ontario would be the hardest hit.
In fact, many Canadians are faced with temperatures colder than places like Antarctica and Mars. With highs in the -20s, overnight temperatures and wind chill factors will result in extreme cold levels in the -40s and -50s. Antarctica, on the other hand, is currently enjoying its summer season, which experiences levels around -16 degrees Celsius in the region where the Amundsen-Scott Weather Station is located. Everest Base Camp is slightly warmer, with temperatures currently around -35 degrees.
Mars experiences daily highs of approximately -23 degrees Celsius. Calgary also reached -23 degrees on Thursday and is expected to reach lows around -27 degrees, with wind chill around -40. Montreal is currently slightly colder, with recorded temperatures as low as -24 degrees. However, as rough as Canadian weather currently is, we can all be thankful they do not reach low nightfall levels on Mars, which are currently registering at -80 degrees.
“The size of this cold wave in terms of geographical distribution is quite exceptional for this early in the winter season,” he stated. He also noted that the duration of the cold weather was particularly “exceptional,” with a projected week-long stint of “10 to 15 degrees below normal.” Such extreme weather conditions have not been seen in the area during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day since 1993. The weather was colder then, though it did not stick around for quite as long.
“The last few years, we had one or two days of cold weather,” said Parent, “but usually those were compensated by a few days near zero, which is not the case this year.”