Bundle up, Quebec: Cold snap expected to drag into 2018

Quebecers be warned: we're in for a cold snap until at least the beginning of January.

Environment Canada issues extreme cold weather warning for most of southern Quebec

In Montreal, the cold arctic air and harsh winds could make it feel as cold as -44 today. (CBC)

Quebecers be warned: we're in for a cold snap until at least the beginning of January.

"The end of the year and even the beginning of 2018 risk being a dozen degrees colder than normal [temperatures] of the season," said Alexandre Parent, a meteorologist for Environment Canada.

Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold weather warning for most of southern Quebec, including Montreal. An extreme cold weather warning is issued when there is a higher risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

In Montreal, the cold arctic air and harsh winds could make it feel as cold as –44 Wednesday evening. On Thursday, it is expected to stay just as cold, with a predicted high of –20 C.

In Quebec City, the winter weather and brisk winds could make it feel as cold as –38 over the next two days.

The weather agency advises to dress warmly by wearing multiple layers and wind-resistant jacket. If your extremities turn pink, feel painful, numb or start to swell, it is best to go inside and warm up.
The cold snap is expected to last until at least Jan. 2, 2018, for parts of Quebec. (Camille Simard/Radio-Canada)

Slow-to-start cars and train delays

As a result of the cold weather, CAA-Québec has been flooded with calls from people who can't start their cars.

"It's much more busy than a regular winter day," said spokesperson Annie Gauthier.

The organization helped around 8,600 Quebecers Wednesday by 6 p.m. About three-quarters of the calls were to boost cars that won't start.

It is recommended that people stay home or use public transit if possible, said Gauthier. For commuters in Montreal, the STM now has a system that allows public transit users to find out when their bus is supposed to arrive in real time.

Gauthier also suggests turning on the car and letting the engine run once in a while.

"If you plan on staying home for many days, don't leave your car in the driveway, not starting it," she said. "Because this could be not good for your car."
While southern Quebec is in the midst of a cold snap, CAA-Québec says it has received thousands of calls today to boost cars. (Tory Gillis/CBC)

The CAA says it is prepared for the deep chill and has 1,150 vehicles on the road to provide services. It also has more staff on standby to help stranded drivers.

Via Rail is also warning commuters that all trains in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor may be delayed due to the extreme cold weather and winter conditions.

It recommends checking the schedule to see if trains are arriving and departing on time.

Helping the homeless

When it comes to providing shelter during the cold snap, the city has 925 emergency accommodations for homeless men, women and youth.

Montreal police say there are officers working on the ground in collaboration with the CIUSSS to find and guide the city's homeless population to warmer spots.

"It's an exercise that we've been preparing for since the fall when we asked our police officers to establish a list of places where homeless people could be in more precarious situations," Cmdr. Jacinthe Boucher told Radio-Canada's Gravel le Matin.

 "So we are ready this winter season to find those people."

While some are reluctant to accept help or go indoors, Boucher said the majority of those living on the streets co-operate with police during dangerously cold weather.

"Our police officers know the homeless people, they know them by name, they know their story and then it's easy to establish links and create a climate of trust to direct them toward the best resources," she said.

Police are also asking for anyone who sees a homeless person who may be in danger during the cold weather to call 911.

With files from Jaela Bernstien and Radio-Canada


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