Extreme weather warning issued for Edmonton, much of northern and eastern Alberta
'Do I really need to go anywhere? Can I stay home?' meteorologist advises people to ask themselves
Edmonton is among a lengthy list of Alberta communities facing an extreme cold weather warning.
As of 3:34 p.m. Wednesday, Environment Canada had issued extreme cold weather warnings for communities across northern Alberta, including the provincial capital, St. Albert and Sherwood Park. The extreme cold warning stretches north to High Level and Wood Buffalo, then down the eastern part of the province, through Lloydminster to Medicine Hat in the south.
An Arctic air mass is expected to cover Alberta Wednesday night, causing temperatures to plummet to around the –40 degree mark, according to Environment Canada. Extreme cold warnings are issued when the temperature, or the wind chill, reaches the -40 C mark.
While many other places aren't facing such extreme cold, the frosty weather is expected for the remainder of the week in many parts of the country.
"It's not just Alberta, it's Saskatchewan, it's Manitoba, it's much of Canada," said Dan Kulak, an Edmonton meteorologist with Environment Canada.
"Our American friends are certainly in it as well," said Kulak. "We have winter weather advisories out for even west Texas."
The continent-wide cold outbreak even means single-digit Celsius temperatures along the Gulf Coast of the U.S., he said.
Here in Alberta, motorists may find themselves with long waits for roadside assistance from the Alberta Motor Association because of the cold weather.
The wait for full towing, a boost, battery test or flat tire is about 16 hours, the AMA website states. A shorter wait, only four hours, is for a locksmith's services or for key replacement.
Wind chill a factor
Unlike some other regions, there is not a lot of snow accompanying the cold weather across the Prairies, said Kulak.
The big termperature drop first slid across Alberta on Christmas Eve. Wind chill has been a big factor here, said Kulak.
Kulak said questions people should ask themselves under these cold weather conditions include: "Do I really need to go anywhere? Can I stay home?" People should "make the choice wisely," he added.
According to Environment Canada, extreme cold puts everyone at risk for symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes. It may also be too cold for pets to stay outside.