An extreme cold warning remains in place for most of Alberta, blanketing the province in frigid temperatures and forcing the cancellation of parades and other outdoor events on Saturday. Environment Canada is forecasting the bone-chilling cold to continue for the rest of the weekend.
“Typically we have sleigh rides on the four Saturdays before Christmas,” said Tineke de Jong with the Old Strathcona Business Association, “but today with it being more than -25 with windchill we definitely had to cancel them.”
Areas under Environment Canada’s warning include Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park. Extreme cold warnings are issued when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia.
Despite the cool weather the first annual Great Sweater Run went ahead as scheduled in Edmonton’s Emily Murphy Park as a couple hundred die-hard athletes braved a five km run along the city’s river valley trails.
“This is insane, I am from Mexico City and this is the craziest thing I have ever done,” said Azeret Zuniga as she jumped up and down to keep warm prior to the race.
Environment Canada forecasted a high of -21 for Edmonton on Saturday, but with the wind chill that temperature dropped to -35. Overnight and into the morning a northwest wind at 20 km/h will plummet the temperature further to a low of -40.
The chilly conditions will continue on Sunday with a high of -14 under sunny skies, however, the wind will make the temperature feel more like -40. The average temperature at this time of year is usually between -4 to -14.
The unseasonably chilly temperatures weren’t cold enough to dampen one man’s spirits.
“It’s business as usual. My elves are busy working so I’ve got the day off to do my shopping,” said Santa Claus, briefly interviewed between dashing in and out of shops on Whyte Avenue on Saturday.
The cool weather is expected to abate beginning Monday with a high of -10.
Cold hits while many Edmontonians still digging out
The deep freeze hits while many Edmontonians are still digging out from the first big snow storm of the winter.
The City of Edmonton declared its first seasonal parking ban on Friday.
The ban, which will affect collector/bus routes in the city, went into effect 11 p.m. Friday. Any vehicles still on the road may be tagged and towed.
- Edmonton: 30 – 40 cm
- Grande Prairie: 45 cm
- Lake Louise: 37 cm
- Whitecourt: 43 cm
Tips to beat the deep freeze from Environment Canada
- Always wear clothing appropriate for the weather. Synthetic and wool fabrics provide better insulation. Some synthetic fabrics are designed to keep perspiration away from your body which keep you dry and further reduce your risk.
- Dress in layers with a wind resistant outer layer. You can remove layers if you get too warm (before you start sweating) or add a layer if you get cold.
- Wear warm socks, gloves, a hat and scarf in cold weather. Be sure to cover your nose to protect it.
- If you get wet, change into dry clothing as soon as possible. You lose heat faster when you’re wet.