Western Canadians have been living in a deep freeze since Monday night when an Arctic air mass settled over the Prairies.
Daytime highs have been almost 20 degrees below seasonal and the cold snap is expected to last until at least the middle of next week.
But Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, Calgarians literally hit a new low. The overnight temperature dropped to -26.7 C — making it the coldest it has been in Calgary in over 1,000 days.
This week has been extreme in many ways. Wednesday’s high of -18.6 C was the coldest daytime high since March 3, 2014 when the temperature topped at -18.8°C. Thursday’s high was even colder at -19.8 C.
This is also the longest stretch of frigid temperatures since March 2014.
Calgary experienced a four-day stretch of extremely cold weather from Feb. 28 to March 3, 2014. Daytime highs ranged between -14.2 C to -25.4 C; lows were between -23.9 C to -30.4 C with wind chill values making it feel like -25 C to -41 C.
The current cold snap is expected to last at least twice as long as the one from 2014. So far highs have ranged between -18.2 C to -19.8 C; lows between -21.4 C to -26.7 C with wind chill values between -25 to -34.
WATCH: Calgary’s extreme cold is hurting some local businesses. During the busy holiday shopping season, some small store front retailers are feeling the crunch. There is a shortage of foot traffic in the places that do most of their yearly income during the Christmas season. Global’s Doug Vaessen reports.
The continued deep freeze also led to three new records set Thursday for winter electricity consumption in Alberta.
On Dec. 8, 2016 between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., Alberta was using a record hourly average amount of electricity at 11,442 MW. This surpassed the Wednesday, Dec. 7 record of 11,404 MW, and the Monday, Dec. 5 record of 11,400 MW.
The Alberta Electric System Operator said the new winter peak usage was set due to cold weather, reduced daylight hours and the convergence of Christmas lighting load at homes, businesses, malls and buildings across the province.
Environment Canada has been forced to issue extreme cold warnings throughout the week around the province.
Extreme cold warnings are issued when there is an elevated risk to health through frostbite or hypothermia because of extremely cold ambient temperatures or wind chill values.
This cold weather has affected everything from schools, to outdoor activities and has even displaced some residents after water pipes burst in a southwest Calgary condo building.
WATCH BELOW: Calgary students stuck inside amid cold winter weather
Warnings have been issued for farmers and pet owners and a number of animals have been seized.
Most forecasting models suggest this unseasonably cold weather is likely to last until at least the middle of next week.
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With files from Karen Bartko
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.