If you think this week’s cold snap is bitterly cold, you’re not wrong. Tuesday was the coldest day in Edmonton in more than nine years.
The mercury dipped down to -32.8 C at Edmonton’s Blatchford weather station on Tuesday. The last time it was this cold in Edmonton was on Dec. 13, 2009, when the city dipped to -36.7 C, according to Global Edmonton chief meteorologist Jesse Beyer.
If you were south of the city on Tuesday morning, it was even colder. The Edmonton International Airport recorded a low of -41.2 C. With the wind chill, it felt more like -50.
Frostbite, hypothermia concerns
With temperatures dipping dangerously low, EMS crews say frostbite and exposure have become a big concern.
EMS crews in the Edmonton area have received 18 calls for cold exposure since Friday, with at least 10 people taken to hospital. Cold exposure calls are related to frostbite and hypothermia, EMS explained Tuesday.
“What we are seeing is a lot of the vulnerable population — such as our homeless, our chronically ill, our elders and our children — are getting caught in this,” Connor Erickson, a public education officer with Alberta Health Services said.
Watch below: Keep dry, layer up and limit the time spent outside to avoid frostbite
Cold Arctic air remained entrenched across much of the province, with wind chill values between -40 and -50 Tuesday morning. The frigid temperatures mean frostbite can develop on exposed skin within minutes.
The cold air is expected to remain in the region until Thursday.
“We just recommend that everybody bundles up as much as they can. Don’t go outside unless you absolutely have to,” Erickson said.
“If you are going out with the older population or children, make sure they’re bundled up, staying warm and they aren’t outside for any prolonged amount of time.”
On Tuesday, city council decided to keep the Central LRT Station open around the clock for those seeking shelter. It will remain open throughout the week.
Anyone who sees a homeless person in distress is encouraged to call 211.
Huge number of collisions in Edmonton
Edmonton police said Tuesday they have responded to a “huge number of collisions” on city streets.
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, police said 518 collisions had been reported since Friday. Police warn drivers to slow down and drive to the conditions.
Record-setting roadside assistance
The Alberta Motor Association said it has received a record number of calls for roadside assistance due to the cold weather.
On Sunday, the AMA received more than 11,100 calls. On Monday, the agency received more than 20,000 calls.
“In some areas, such as rural Alberta, calls about dead batteries are up nearly nine times the average,” the AMA said in a news release Tuesday morning.
“Edmonton and Calgary have seen as much as five-and-a-half times the usual volume.”
Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of bitterly cold weather in Edmonton on Tuesday.
The AMA has called in additional dispatchers, call centre staff and service vehicle operators to deal with the increased workload.
“It’s all hands on deck across the province to get motorists and their vehicles to safety.”
Ski hill closures
The extreme cold has forced the closure of several Edmonton-area ski hills.
- Snow Valley will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Updates are being provided on the ski hill’s website
- Rabbit Hill will be closed on Tuesday. Updated are being provided on the ski hill’s website
- Sunridge Ski Area will be closed on Tuesday. Updates are being provided on the ski hill’s website
- Marmot Basin was closed over the weekend but reopened Tuesday
READ MORE: 6 cold weather myths you should not believe
Bus service cancelled
- Aspen View Public Schools bus service cancelled for Tuesday, Feb. 5. Schools remain open
- Black Gold School Division bus service cancelled for Tuesday, Feb. 5. Schools remain open
- Elk Island Catholic Schools in Fort Saskatchewan, Sherwood Park and Strathcona County bus service cancelled for Tuesday, Feb. 5 and Wednesday, Feb. 6. Schools remain open
- Elk Island Public Schools bus service cancelled before and after school for Tuesday, Feb. 5 and Wednesday Feb. 6. Schools remain open and parents are reminded there will be an early dismissal on Wednesday
- Parkland School Division Regional Transportation system has cancelled bus service for Tuesday, Feb. 5
- St. Paul Education Regional Division No. 1 rural bus service cancelled for Tuesday, Feb. 5 and Wednesday, Feb. 6. Schools remain open and buses will still run in the town of St. Paul itself
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