CANADA - Tags: SOCIETY
A man jumps into a hole cut in the ice on the Ottawa River during the annual Great Canadian Chill polar bear dip in Ottawa January 1, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Wattie (CANADA - Tags: SOCIETY) - RTX16ZDN REUTERS
Sure, it's January, and it's Canada, but temperatures from Manitoba eastward today are testing the will of anyone heading outdoors.
In Winnipeg, with the temperature at –32 C early Thursday morning (feeling like –41), the afternoon high was expected to soar to a bone-chilling –26 C.
"In Ontario and Quebec today, the big story is the cold, with either a wind chill warning or special weather statement (regarding the extreme cold) blanketing most of both provinces this morning," CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland reports.
Wind chill warnings extend as far south asLondon, Kitchener-Waterloo, and east through Toronto, the Durham Region and Kingston in Ontario, and into southern Quebec.
Record low temperatures for Jan. 2 were set this morning in a number of areas in northwestern Ontario, including –42.2 C at the Timmins airport and –38.8 C at the Thunder Bay airport.
Wind chill values Thursday morning ranged from the –20s and –30s in southern Ontario to the –40s and even –50 to the north. In some areas of northern Ontario, wind chills could reach the –50 to –55 range tonight and Friday morning.
The Canadian Automobile Association's southern Ontario branch said it expects the number of calls because of dead batteries to double today.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Provincial Police estimated that 30-50 vehicles were been involved in separate collisions on the QEW east of Hamilton as whiteouts and icy roads create a treacherous stretch of highway.
Between Hamilton and Grimsby, multiple cars have been reported in collisions, according to Sgt. David Woodford.
–56 wind chill in parts of Quebec
In southern Quebec, Montreal felt like –38 at Trudeau International Airport on Thursday morning. Parts of mid-northern Quebec could see wind chill values approaching –56 overnight, Environment Canada said. Hydro-Québec asked customers to reduce their power use between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET, anticipating near-record power consumption in the province because of the cold.
In New Brunswick, wind chill values ranged from –30 to –40 at 7 a.m. ET, and wind chill warnings extended across the province.
Prince Edward Island faced blowing snow warnings throughout the province. Wind chill values are expected to be around the –30 level tonight and Friday.
In addition to cold temperatures, Nova Scotia was preparing for blizzard conditions as a winter storm gathers force Thursday night. The entire province is under a warning, either for a blizzard or blowing snow. The heaviest snowfall amounts are expected over southwestern Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Valley and most of Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast, where total snowfall amounts of up to 30 centimetres are expected by late Friday.
In St. John's, the forecast held out the hope of clear skies and a high of –15 C, rising to –8 on Friday. Still, it felt like –30 at St. John's airport on Thursday morning and wind chill warnings have been issued for 20 regions in Newfoundland and Labrador, where wind chill values are expected to fall to as low as –41 overnight. Blizzard warnings were issued Thursday afternoon for much of southeastern Newfoundland, including the Burin and Avalon peninsulas.
Fortunately, most of the hundreds of thousands of customers in Central and Eastern Canada who lost power during the ice storm of 10 days ago have had their electricity restored.
Ontario Hydro says fewer than 500 customers remain in the dark.
NB Power says about 70 customers who lost power more than a week ago are still without power, while another 1,000 lost their power early today. Hydro-Québec's website says about 4,600 had no power as of 2 p.m. ET.