Manitobans brace for -50 windchill expected overnight

All of Manitoba is under an extreme windchill warning today.

Cold weather warnings issued for all of Manitoba on Monday morning

Winnipeg weather pushes families indoors

9 years ago
Duration 1:53
The freezing cold temperatures are keeping people away from a number of outdoor spots, including Adrenaline Adventures, an outdoor recreation park. CBC's Meagan Fiddler reports

All of Manitoba is under an extreme windchill warning today.

The entire province is blanketed in red on Environment Canada's alerts map. And every place comes with the same warning: 

Cold enough?

Apparently not for a record in Winnipeg.

Environment Canada meteorologist Dale Marciski said the coldest December on record for the city had an average temperature of -26 C. That was in 1879.

This December’s average temp is -20 C. That's not even good enough for second place — or third.

Here are the three coldest Decembers ever for Winnipeg::

  • 1879: -26.0 C
  • 1872: -22.6​ C
  • 2000: -22.0 C

  • Extreme wind chills of –40 to –45 today through Tuesday.
  • An Arctic ridge of high pressure from northwestern Alberta into southern Manitoba will keep Manitoba under a bitterly cold air mass for the next several days. Northwesterly winds of 15 to 25 km/h combined with the frigid temperatures will generate extreme windchill values of –40 to –45 beginning over central Manitoba today then spreading to southern Manitoba tonight.
  • At these extreme wind chill values frostbite on exposed skin may occur in less than 10 minutes.

In Winnipeg, the overnight low on Monday night is expected to drop to –38 C but the windchill will make it feel more like –50. It will be much the same situation overnight on Tuesday to Wednesday.

The chill put a damper on the City of Winnipeg's trash and recycling collection. Officials said collection would be delayed due to the extreme cold's effect on workers and equipment and asked Winnipeggers for their patience.

Normal temperatures for this time of year in southern Manitoba are a daytime high of –13 C and a low of 23 C.

About 200 could face night on streets, official says

A downtown business association is predicting about 200 homeless people could spend Monday night on the street, despite a forecast calling for a windchill of -50.
The parts of the province coloured red are under a windchill warning. That's right, every single corner of Manitoba. (Environment Canada)

Kristy Rebenchuk is a social worker who does outreach work for the Downtown BIZ. She tries to match homeless people up with beds or places to stay overnight.

Between co-ordinating rides and finding spots for people who may have been barred from certain shelters, it’s a time-consuming job. Rebenchuk said part of it is convincing people to go inside, even to places they may not be welcome.

“I see them outside, and you know, trying to encourage them to go to places that they’re not allowed, but still trying to encourage them at least to seek some form of shelter,” she said. “It is very difficult to see people suffering.”

Rebenchuk has also arranged for medical care for several people suffering from frostbite.

Another crew, dubbed the Downtown Watch program, will deploy crews in cars and on foot overnight to bring people to shelters.

Cold weather forces families indoors, eats into outdoor business profits

The freezing cold temperatures are keeping people away from a number of outdoor spots, including Adrenaline Adventures, an outdoor recreation park.
A visitor flies down a hill at the snowtubing hill at Adrenaline Adventures on Monday. (Meagan Fiddler/CBC)

“It’s been a challenge. We’ve been closed more just in this single month than we have in an entire season [before],” said Michelle Rohs, who owns the park.

Jessica Dumas brought her sons to the park on Monday, but they only lasted a few runs before heading inside.

Dumas said it’s been a struggle to find activities to keep the kids busy.

“Rylan, he loves to be outside, but [the cold] has kept him in,” said Dumas. “Because of the cold he’s been like, ‘No! I’m not going out!’”

Other indoor recreation centres are doing better though. Great Big Adventure, an indoor playground for children, was at capacity on Monday.

Parent Corrina Ducharme was there, hoping for a chance to de-stress.

“I like to send them outside to play when there’s no school,” she said. “In the cold, you can only send them out for a few minutes. [It] takes them longer to dress than they’re actually outside!”

CAA swamped

It's so cold that CAA Manitoba is already reporting this month as the busiest on record.

The current record was set in January 2013 when CAA took more than 18,700 calls. So far this December, there have been 18,500 calls.

But with two days left in the month, and some of the coldest weather to come, CAA expects to climb past the record.

Spokesperson Liz Peters says the extreme temperatures over the last few weeks caught some of their crews by surprise.

"We were bracing and getting ready for what we know was going to be coming in January, but it's already come in December so we're sitting here with our fingers crossed wondering what's going to happen in January," she said. "December is actually a slow winter months for us [usually]."

Manitoba Hydro breaks energy use record

Manitoba Hydro says the province broke a record for energy consumption this month.

“December has been a cold month relatively speaking. We normally expect this kind of weather in January or February, so it’s kept the meter spinning,” said Glenn Schneider, a spokersperson for Manitoba Hydro. “We reached a new historic peak for electricity use, which occurred on Dec. 23.”

Schneider added the new record wasn’t all that surprising, as Manitoba’s population and industry are growing, leading to higher consumption.


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