Extreme cold weather creating frosty conditions across Sask.

As an extreme cold warning covers most of Saskatchewan, people are doing their best to stay warm.

Environment Canada meteorologist says temperatures likely to improve by end of week

A person in a parka walks on a city path in very cold winter weather as fog rises from a river in the background. The fog partially obscures a bridge.
Cold weather across Saskatchewan is expected to improve later this week. (Kayle Neis/The Canadian Press)

As an extreme cold warning covers most of Saskatchewan, people are doing their best to stay warm.

On Tuesday afternoon, Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning for most of south and central Saskatchewan. By Wednesday morning, most of northern Saskatchewan had been added as well.

The warning said wind chill values were expected to register between –40 and –50 as cold, arctic air floods the Prairies.

The effects were felt across the province as many school divisions cancelled school buses. Cold weather also affected many city bus routes in Saskatoon due to mechanical failures.

Environment Canada meteorologist Terri Lang said cold air from Siberia is being pushed down through Saskatchewan. She said people can expect the freezing temperatures to last for several days.

"That cold arctic air is really dense and really, really heavy," said Lang.

"So, once it moves in, it's hard to move out. It likes to kind of sit there."

Lang expects these frigid temperatures to linger through Thursday, but begin to improve by Friday morning, with base temperatures in some areas expected to rise above –20 C.

Cold workers

Meanwhile, people working outside during these conditions are being asked to be very cautious.

Rick Rieger, advisory services manager at the Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association, said it's very important that anyone outside working in these conditions make sure they dress appropriately.

Rieger said dressing in layers, including material that helps wick away sweat, can be a life saver.

"When your activity levels come up, and you're starting to have some sort of perspiration and sweating, that can be really when things get difficult," he said.

"Once the body starts to cool off, that sweat starts to really chill and get cold and really cool off the body."

Rieger said people should pay attention when their fingers and toes begin to get cold. 

For many construction workers, job sites don't close down even in extreme temperatures, which is why it's important to take breaks and warm up.

"They need to find ways to ... warm up inside, and just make sure to take the proper care and precautions to be able to work safely in these cold temperatures."

Environment Canada reminds people to be extra careful when outside while the cold weather persists. The weather service said frostbite can develop on exposed skin within minutes, especially if the wind is blowing.

People are asked to watch out for cold-related symptoms including chest pain, muscle pain, numbness, and colour change in fingers and toes.

Environment Canada also asks that people keep emergency supplies, like extra blankets and jumper cables, in their vehicles.