Thunder Bay

Bundle up - extreme cold warnings in effect for much of Northwestern Ontario

Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning for much of Northwestern Ontario as wind chills push already-cold temperatures below -40 C.

Wind chill pushes temperatures below -40 for much of the region

Northwestern Ontario residents are advised to bundle up, with temperatures dropping to below -40 C with the wind chill over the next few days. (Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press)

Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning for much of Northwestern Ontario as wind chills push already-cold temperatures below -40 C.

The latest Environment Canada bulletin, issued early Tuesday morning, states that the extreme cold warning is in effect for Thunder Bay, Kenora, Dryden, Ignace, Fort Frances, Atikokan, Red Lake, Geraldton, Manitouwadge, Hornepayne, Nipigon, Marathon, and surrounding areas.

The temperature Tuesday in Thunder Bay was projected to hit a high of about -23 C, but drop to -40 C with the wind chill.

The conditions were similar elsewhere in the region. Daytime highs throughout Northwestern Ontario were expected to hit between -20 C and - 25 C, but the wind chill would push them down to about -40 C, or colder.

In the Kenora area, for example, Tuesday's daytime high was expected to be -25 C, or -42 C with the wind chill.

The cold spot for the province was listed as Fort Severn, at -41.1 C.

Cold nights in the forecast

According to Environment Canada, the cold spot in the region was expected to be the Nipigon, Marathon and Superior North area, where daytime highs would reach -23 C, but hit -45 C when the wind chill is taken into account.

The early-morning forecast projected that the cold snap would remain active for some time.

Weiqing Zhang, a severe weather meteorologist with Environment Canada, said the extreme cold warning would likely remain in effect through Wednesday. 

"By Thursday morning, [it] depends on how strong the wind is," Zhang said, adding the temperature will be cold on Thursday and Friday in the region regardless, generally falling in the -30 C to -35 C range without the wind chill, which is about the average low temperature for this time of year.

Health risk

Zhang said if the wind remains strong, the wind chill will push temperatures below -40 C.

Environment Canada says extreme cold warnings are issued when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an "elevated risk to health, such as frost bite and hypothermia."

The agency reminds people to watch for cold-related symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, or numbness or colour changes in fingers and toes, and to dress warmly, and in layers.

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