Thunder Bay

Extreme cold expected to start off 2022 in parts of northwestern Ontario

Parts of northwestern Ontario will be ringing in the new year in extreme cold, with temperatures dropping to the minus 40's with the wind chill this weekend in some areas.

Environment Canada is warning people to limit time outside as extreme cold settles into part of the region

Environment Canada says a bitterly cold arctic air mass will make it's way over much of Ontario this weekend. The agency says northwestern Ontario was experiencing above average temperatures for the month of December, but the final days of the month will change that. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Parts of northwestern Ontario will be ringing in the new year in extreme cold, with temperatures dropping to the minus 40s with the wind chill this weekend in some areas.

Environment Canada and Climate Change issued warnings for the Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, and Red Lake areas early Thursday. The warnings ended by late afternoon, but the colder than normal temperatures are expected to last into the weekend, according to the agency.

"Those values are going to be expected for the next couple of days through to New Year's Day, actually, with the daytime highs being closer to what we normally [would] be expecting as the daytime minimums," said Steven Flisfeder, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada and Climate Change.

Flisfeder said as of Thursday an arctic air mass was making its way across the centre of the country, with extreme cold warnings stretching all the way from northwestern Ontario, westward toward Alberta.

He said as the air mass makes its way east through the week it will begin to moderate itself, especially as it gets closer to the Great Lakes.

Cold month ahead

"So it's not going to be quite as significant as it crosses eastwards into northeastern Ontario and then later in Quebec. But those areas will still be experiencing very cold temperatures. Just not quite as extreme," added Flisfeder.

According to the agency, parts of the northwest will see extreme cold temperatures until about New Years Day and that will be followed by a "relative warm up" with highs expected to reach around minus 15 before they cool down again.

"People can be expecting daytime highs closer to the minus 20 Celsius range for most of northwestern Ontario as we get into the first weekend of January and looking at the month as a whole, it is looking like it will be overall below seasonal temperatures," said Flisfeder.

"Even without the warnings, the temperatures are very, very cold. So limit your time outside as much as possible, and be sure to cover up exposed skin," he added. "If you don't have to be outside, then it's safer to stay inside."

now