A sweeping extreme cold snap has blanketed nearly all of Alberta in shockingly low temperatures, and it’s not expected to relent for some time.
Many regions are experiencing wind chill values between -40 and -55, according to Environment Canada.
“We’re under the influence of a bitter cold arctic air mass, a polar vortex, that will linger over the Prairie provinces for several days,” Global News weather specialist Suzy Burge said on Sunday.
“This arctic air mass is cold and dense and usually takes some time before moving out. The expectation is that it will last through to Family Day weekend.”
Environment Canada said the situation will be “prolonged” but should have some moments of relief.
“This prolonged cold snap is expected to persist through the coming week for many areas of Alberta,” the weather agency said.
“There will be some moderation in temperature at times, typically during daylight hours.”
Frostbite can occur within minutes with high wind chill levels. If you have to spend time outside, cover up and watch for symptoms.
The only regions not under the extreme cold warning as of Sunday morning were those in the southwest area of the province. However, those regions are still experiencing cold — Calgary, although the region is not under a warning, was expected to see a wind chill of -31 Sunday. Lethbridge, also not under a warning, is expected to see a wind chill near -35 Sunday afternoon.
In Edmonton, the wind chill was at -41 on Sunday morning and was set to reach -30 by the afternoon.
Red Deer saw a wind chill of -47 Sunday morning with an afternoon wind chill of -34.
In Fort McMurray, Sunday morning saw a wind chill of -52, with a wind chill of -38 expected this afternoon.
An extreme cold warning is issued by Environment Canada when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health.