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Tuesday was the first born-chilling day of the year, and the coldest the city has seen in the last four years.
Tuesday saw temperatures hover around the -20 C mark but with the wind chill, it felt more like -30 C. At 8 a.m. ET, Ottawa as the coldest national capital city on Earth.
Some construction crews braved the cold and worked through the day. Dylan Boltz began his shift at 7 a.m. and after nearly five hours outside, the frost was building up on his eyebrows.
“It’s very cold,” says Boltz. “But it’s not too bad if you stay moving and it’s important to dress properly and gear yourself up with the proper gear.”
While Monday’s overnight extreme-cold advisory ended in the early morning, many commuters were faced with stalled vehicles. By early afternoon, CAA had already handled nearly 700 calls.
“Ninety per cent of our calls today are for battery boost related calls and it’s definitely due to the cold extreme weather,” says Michael Schmidt, CAA north and east Ontario operations manager. “Being prepared for the winter is being prepared for any type of breakdown you never know when an emergency is going to occur you never know when your car is going to be unreliable.”
Schmidt says having a roadside safety kit with essentials that includes booster cables, gloves, a reflector and flashlight as well as blanket will ensure readiness in case of lost cell service or having to wait on the side of a road.
Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips says so far, it hasn’t been too bad and that this kind of freezing should have happened months ago.
“But hey, we’re now into the middle of January and we’re still lacking the snow. There’s only two centimetres sitting on the ground in Ottawa,” says Phillips. “It’s turned cold. It’s going to eventually stay cold for a while and I think any precipitation that falls will be the white stuff. I think you’re going to see more shovelling, plowing, and pushing but boy, you got a lot of snow to make up … I only see little bits of flurries from here to there but no major system coming over the next couple of weeks.”
While the cold was here Tuesday, it will likely be gone Wednesday, as clouds roll in and the mercury rises. Flurries are expected to begin overnight, and the temperature is actually supposed to rise overnight to minus 8 C.
The flurries continue into Wednesday, and will end in the afternoon but the temperature could be a balmy high of 0 C.
On Thursday, a mix of sun and clouds and a high of -6 C.