Extreme cold warning issued for Calgary — along with most of Alberta

Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning for Calgary on Friday afternoon, adding it to a long list of such warnings for most of Alberta as an arctic air mass continues to hover.

Cold spell expected to break by New Year's Day in Calgary area

The cold didn't deter skiers like Alicia Biosca, who travelled from Barcelona in Spain to visit family in Calgary and who was at WinSport on Thursday. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning for Calgary, adding it to a long list of such warnings for most of Alberta as an arctic air mass continues to hover. 

The agency issued the warning at about 3:30 p.m. on Friday. At that point, Environment Canada said the temperature the Calgary International Airport was –25 C with a windchill making it feel like –39.

At the same time, Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning for Rocky Mountain House -Caroline. 

In total, the Environment Canada extreme cold warnings in central and southern Alberta include:

  • Hanna – Coronation – Oyen.
  • ​Rocky Mountain House – Caroline.
  • ​Red Deer – Ponoka – Innisfail – ​Stettler.
  • Airdrie – Cochrane – Olds – Sundre.
  • Calgary.
  • Brooks – Strathmore – Vulcan.
  • Drumheller – Three Hills.
  • Medicine Hat – Bow Island – Suffield.

The Environment Canada extreme cold warnings also cover almost all areas of the province north and west of Calgary, with the exception of the mountain parks and the Nordegg area.

Samuel Quiroja was out walking his dog at Calgary's Edworthy Park on Tuesday, despite a windchill that made it feel like -30s. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

The agency says it issues extreme cold warnings when very cold temperatures or wind chill pose an elevated risk to health, such as frost bite and hypothermia.

Snowfall warnings were also issued for the Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek and Waterton Lakes National Park areas, as well as the Cardston, Fort Macleod and Magrath areas in southern Alberta. 

Slippery streets 

The blast of winter is taking a toll on traffic.

Police say between 7 a.m. on Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday, they received reports of more than 275 crashes, including 47 reported hit and runs and 15 crashes involving injuries. 

Police also note Calgarians are still leaving their vehicles running with keys inside, and thieves are taking advantage.

New Year warm up 

Calgary is expected to stay very cold until at least Sunday.

Skaters at Bowness Park warm up by the fire on Thursday. (CBC)

The high for Saturday is expected to be –26 C and –21 on Sunday, New Year's Eve.

On New Year's Day, Calgary is expected to warm up to –4 C, then to zero on Tuesday and a balmy 9 C by Wednesday.