Deep freeze hits Ottawa, wind chill drops below -40
Extreme cold temperatures will continue to grip Ottawa and eastern Ontario Friday night and Saturday morning, with the wind chill making it feel colder than -40.
An extreme cold warning remains in effect for Ottawa, as a blast of cold Arctic air hovers over the region. Temperatures dropped to -27 C on Friday morning, with the wind chill making it feel more like -41.
"Gusty winds will continue to produce very cold wind chills throughout the day and into Saturday morning," Environment Canada said in a statement.
"Extreme cold puts everyone at risk."
The forecast calls for temperatures to drop to -31 C Friday night, with the wind chill making it feel like -43 degrees. The weather is cold enough to cause frostbite on exposed skin in minutes, Environment Canada says.
The extreme cold temperatures forced the cancellation of all outdoor activities on the opening day of Winterlude, while several ski and skating attractions closed on Friday due to the weather.
"It's the old bones but when you're all dressed up you can cope with it," Colette Viau said on Friday.
"I like winter," William Potts-Haplin said. "I used to do more sports and everything, you can slide around a whole lot more but as you get older and you have to dress like this just to take the compost out and such it gets a little tiring that way."
The CAA says it was a busy day.
"We normally get around 500 calls for the entire day; we did that by noon today," CAA assistant operations manager Hassan Al-Khairalla said. "So on Code Red Days, we expect about triple to quadruple that volume."
The CAA recommends getting your battery tested to ensure it can handle the cold temperatures.
"Every three to five years you should probably want to change your battery, that's how long they last," Al-Khairalla said.
Ottawa Public Health has issued a frostbite warning until further notice. The cold weather has forced a number of closures and cancellations in the city. That includes all outdoor Winterlude activities.
The cold snap will be short-lived. Saturday will still be very cold, with a wind chill near -40 in the morning and a high of -14 C in the afternoon. Environment Canada says Ottawa will see 5 cm of snow on Saturday night.
But Sunday will see the temperature skyrocket to 1 C. There is also a 70 per cent chance of snow on Sunday.
Tips to prevent frostbite
Ottawa Public Health offers the following tips to prevent frostbite during the extreme cold temperatures.
- Get to a warm area before frostbite sets in. If it's too cold outside, consider staying indoors.
- Keep extra mittens and gloves in the car, house or school bag.
- Wear larger sized mittens over your gloves.
- Wear a hat.
- Wear a neck warmer to protect the chin, lips and cheeks.
- Wear waterproof winter boots with room for an extra layer of socks.
- Make sure you are able to wiggle your toes in your boots.
- Avoid drinking alcohol.
With files from CTV News Ottawa's Katie Griffin
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