Extreme cold gripping Quebec could get even worse this weekend, Environment Canada says
Bitter cold expected to 'persist for several more days,' according to the weather agency
Bad news, Quebecers: the bitter cold gripping much of the province is likely to get even worse over the weekend.
That's according to the latest forecast from Environment Canada.
"Bitterly cold Arctic air combined with brisk winds are generating wind chill values of minus 30 to minus 38 across western and central Quebec," the weather agency said Friday.
"This cold will strengthen Saturday evening and it will likely last several days."
In such frigid temperatures, Environment Canada warns that frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially in windy conditions.
The deep freeze is believed to have claimed the life of a Quebec City man earlier this week.
In Montreal, police say there are officers working on the ground in collaboration with health authorities to find and guide the city's homeless population to warmer spots.
The city has 925 emergency accommodations for homeless men, women and youth.
Temperatures are expected to remain well below seasonal values at least through next week.
The intense cold spell affecting Quebec is driving particularly heavy calls from CAA-Quebec's roadside assistance service.
CAA-Québec responds to jump in calls
CAA-Québec helped around 9,900 Quebecers by 4 p.m. today, and said on Twitter that it expects to have helped 12,000 by the end of the day. The organization helped almost the same amount of people yesterday.
Déjà 9600 services rendus, soit autant que toute la journée d'hier. On était prêts, et on est là! On devrait finir la journée à 12 000 services environ, ce qui est exceptionnel. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/froidextreme?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#froidextreme</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/hiver?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#hiver</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/journ%C3%A9eCAA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#journéeCAA</a>—@CAA_Quebec
According to CAA-Québec spokesperson Annie Gauthier, calls are mostly about boosting services.
Start-up problems account for 70 to 80 per cent of requests, she added.
In order to be able to respond to the high volume of calls, CAA-Québec has close to 1,100 vehicles are on the ground and around 200 people are around to answer calls.
The organization has posted a notice to its website authorizing its members to use "roadside assistance service of their choice" due to the current weather conditions.
Members who use a different mechanic or breakdown service will be reimbursed by CAA-Québec, according to the website.
Extreme cold to impact snow removal, city says
The city says the extreme cold in the Montreal area is making snow removal operations more difficult.
It says workers will use abrasives, which are more effective than salt, on the icy roads.
Drivers are warned to be careful of black ice.
The snow removal operation started Tuesday and is expected to be done by Jan. 1.
Expect mail delivery delays
Canadians across the country can expect a delays in their mail service because of the cold weather.
Canada Post issued service alerts on Wednesday for parts of the Prairies, and in Quebec, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
If you were expecting mail today and didn't receive it, you might not be alone. Canada Post warned that some of its clients would not be getting correspondence today.
"Right now, it's extremely cold, and we just want to make sure we take the necessary precautions and keep people safe," said Canada Post spokesperson Aurélie Walsh.
Much of Canada affected
The big chill is affecting other parts of the country as well.
Early Thursday morning, an Environment Canada map showed extreme cold weather warnings across much of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, a large swath of Ontario and parts of Quebec, as well as special weather statements for Nova Scotia, P.E.I., New Brunswick and parts of Newfoundland and Labrador.
With files from La Presse Canadienne and Radio-Canada