Extreme cold chills Quebecers to the bone
Hydro-Québec issues public appeal to reduce consumption during peak hours
Quebecers are facing another bitterly cold day with temperatures that feel like –55 C with the wind chill in some parts of the province.
Environment Canada has wind chill warnings in effect across the province. A frigid –43 C in Chibougamau feels like –55 C with the wind chill factored in.
Residents of the Saguenay region faced a wind chill that feels like –46 C, which led local authorities to close outdoor skating rinks in Chicoutimi, Jonquière and La Baie.
Montrealers woke up to an early morning temperature of –26 C with a wind chill that feels like –39 C. Residents of Quebec City faced an equally bone-chilling day, with a high of –24 C that feels like –40 C with the wind chill.
Medical officials are warning people to dress appropriately and minimize the amount of time they spend outside.
"In temperatures like this, somebody who's not dressed well can see their core temperature drop in less than half an hour," said Dr. Joe Nemeth, Director of Emergency Medicine at the Montreal General Hospital.
Montreal’s police department has tasked an extra team with keeping watch over Montreal's vulnerable homeless population during the period of extreme cold.
Yet even those with homes weren’t guaranteed warmth against the cold – Hydro-Québec reported almost 11,000 customers without power around the province early Thursday, including more than 3,000 in both Chaudière-Appalaches and Laval. By 6 p.m. ET Thursday, there were still over 4,000 customers without electricity.
Hydro-Québec issued a news release Thursday morning asking the public to limit their consumption of power during peak hours. Those hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET Thursday and Friday between 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Quebecers could get a brief respite from the cold this weekend — Environment Canada is predicting a high of –4 C in Montreal on Sunday.
Extreme weather in North America
Elsewhere in Canada and the U.S., bad weather conditions have meant flight delays and cancellations.
Earlier on Thursday, more than 30 flights were delayed at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport, particularly flights to or through Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Boston. More than 30 centimetres of snow fell on some parts of the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard.
U.S. airlines cancelled more than 1,800 flights nationwide on Thursday in advance of the storm. Many were on regional airlines that handle shorter flights for the major carriers.
Airlines already have cancelled more than 500 flights scheduled for Friday.
Weather warning from Environment Canada:
With files from The Associated Press