Deep freeze grips Prairies, B.C.

It’s been a cold few days in the Prairies and it’s going to stick around for a while.

A cold Arctic air mass has settled over Western Canada causing daytime temperatures to dip to near -25 C.

But the wind chill is what’s making it even worse.

Environment Canada has issued a wind chill warnings for most of Alberta, including Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and as far north as Peace River.

Wind chill warnings have also been issued for southern Saskatchewan, including Saskatoon, Regina, Moose Jaw and Estevan.

In Calgary, the daytime high for Friday was a bone-chilling -25 C with a low of -29 C. The normal high is -1; the low, -13. But factor in the wind chill and it felt like -40 C.

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“So even in a part of Canada that’s no stranger to Arctic air masses, this is much, much colder than normal for them,” said Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Though the Prairies can get these late fall cold snaps once in a while, it’s not that common.

“Come January, February, that is something one would expect to see,” said Coulson.

But temperatures were even colder elsewhere.

Lethbridge woke up to temperatures of -33 C and didn’t get above -29 C. There, too, the wind chill made it feel more like -40 C.

Parts of Saskatchewan were also under a deep freeze.

Exposed skin can freeze in a matter of minutes with extreme wind chill values. Peter Quinlan / Skytracker

In Saskatoon, temperatures were -26 C with a wind chill of -32 C.

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The cold stretched as far east as Manitoba, where, in Winnipeg, the mercury dipped down to -24 C. But residents there got away with a wind chill of “just” -31 C.

British Columbia is even in on the cold weather: Parts of the North Coast and the Fraser Valley were also under wind chill warnings.

The Arctic ridge is expected to hang around for the next few days, though temperatures are expected to rise to the mid-teens.

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