Be prepared to bundle up when leaving the house, Environment Canada has issued an “extreme cold warning” for much of Alberta.
Spanning from the very north of the province down through Drumheller and Hanna, the cold snap is expected to last a few days.
Sylvan Lake and Eckville lands right in the middle of the warning zone and Environment Canada is warning the extreme cold will last until at least Saturday.
Thursday morning the warning was issued at 4:30 a.m. where the wind chills reached upwards of -40C.
It is believed the current surge of cold, arctic air will maintain the cold with severe wind chills through to Saturday. Cold weather warning are issued by Environment Canada with temperatures or wind chills, or a combination of the two create a risk to ones health by frost bite or hypothermia.
The period of extreme cold is expected to bring temperatures 10-15 degrees below normal. The last year that had temperatures similar to what is being experienced was in 1993. However, the temperatures were colder, but didn’t last as long.
What is particularly unusual about this cold snap is the geological spread. The cold snap is pushing through the Prairies to settle over Central Canada and the Maritimes.
While Alberta will be seeing temperatures near the -40C mark, Environment Canada is expecting Ontario will be hit the hardest, with areas seeing temperatures closer to -50C with the wind.
If you have to go outside during these periods, Environment Canada says to cover up.
“Frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill,” a press release from Environment Canada said.
Those who work outdoors should take regular breaks to warm up.
Someone suffering from the extreme cold could experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes.
“Extreme cold puts everyone at risk,” the press release said.
The Weather Network’s weekend forecast has the temperatures hovering around the -25C mark, without the wind. When the wind chill is factored in, The Weather Network believes the temperatures will feel closer to -30C or colder.
The good news is the temperatures are expected to warm back to near normal beginning Jan. 1.