Paramedics said they have responded to dozens of calls for hypothermia and frostbite as Ottawa endured day four of a five-day cold spell.
It may not have seemed possible, but it felt even colder in the Ottawa area on Thursday than it was earlier in the week.
Environment Canada has issued a wind chill warning for most areas from the Waterloo region of Ontario to western Nova Scotia, including all of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
They said the Arctic air mass which has established itself over southern and eastern Ontario is mixing with a low-pressure system over the lower Great Lakes to create northeasterly winds lasting into Friday morning.
The wind chill made the air temperature of –26 C in Ottawa at 12 p.m. feel like –37 C, within the range of –30 C to –40 C wind chill in Environment Canada’s forecast.
The City of Ottawa’s frostbite advisory remains in effect as well.
Firefighter air packs freeze up
Environment Canada said to cover as much exposed skin as possible when outside because of the danger of frostbite and hypothermia.
“(The cold) does kill Canadians. It injures us. We suffer from hypothermia, frost bite, frost nip,” said Environment Canada’s David Phillips.
“Really when you look at it, we are the second coldest country in the world. I suppose it’s not a surprise close to 100 Canadians die every year from exposure to cold conditions.”
The cold is causing concerns in other ways as well, as two firefighters were hospitalized suffering from smoke inhalation on Wednesday after their air packs froze while responding to a call in rural south Ottawa.
City workers also had to deal with the cold as they worked to repair a broken water main at Heron Road and Kaladar Avenue in south Ottawa.