Wind chill warnings across Saskatchewan

Environment Canada was warning the public about frostbite across a wide section of the Prairies on Friday. (Environment Canada)

What's in your winter survival kit?

With extreme wind chill conditions in effect throughout Saskatchewan today, it's a good time to make sure some emergency basics are packed away in the trunk of your vehicle.
Here are 10 items that should be in your car:

1. A tow rope and some jumper cables. 
2. An emergency warning light, with a coloured light.
3. Flashlight.
4. Candle in a deep can and matches.
5. Food that won't spoil, such as energy bars. 
6. Water in small plastic bottles (a big jug might take too long to thaw).
7. Blankets, extra clothes, warm socks. 
8. A small shovel. 
9. A bag of sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter for some traction.
10. A charged cell phone.

Source: Environment Canada

The entire province of Saskatchewan was one big wind chill zone Friday morning — and it looks like conditions are going to get worse before they get better.

Temperatures were in the -20 to -30 C range, with winds gusting as high as 80 kilometres per hour.

There were also blowing snow warnings in much of the southern part of the province, including around Fort Qu'Appelle, Indian Head, Lumsden, Pilot Butte, Estevan, Weyburn, Radville and Milestone.

The provincial government's Highways Hotline warned against travel on the Trans-Canada Highway between Regina and Belle Plaine at one point Friday morning. Other roads had similar warnings covering them as of 7 a.m. CST, including highway 6 between Regina and the U.S. border, and the stretch between Weyburn and Moose Jaw.

People were advised to check the highway hotline before heading out.

Record-setting cold

A few cold weather records were set in the north: Buffalo Narrow was at -32.5 early in the morning — its coldest Feb. 28 ever — while in Meadow Lake the mercury dipped to -33.1

Some school divisions cancelled bus service because of the cold. The Prairie Spirit School Division west of Saskatoon was one of them. Buses to the francophone school in Zenon Park were also cancelled.

Families that rely on school buses were advised to check with their local school divisions about other cancellations.

It's not over yet

Coming up are two of the coldest nights of the winter.

Temperatures in Regina are expected to fall to -38 on both Friday night and Saturday night. The wind could make it feel even colder.

"We could get -50 [with the] wind chill," said CBC Saskatchewan weather consultant Wayne Miskolczi. "It's probably going to be one of the colder days of the winter."

According to Environment Canada, at extreme wind chill values of -40, frostbite on exposed skin may occur in less than 10 minutes.  At values below -50 frostbite may occur in less than 5 minutes.