British Columbians in many parts of the province are being asked to avoid nonessential travel on Monday, and dress for the weather if they must be outside as temperatures continue to drop.
Environment Canada has placed much of the coast, Interior and Lower Mainland on extreme cold or Arctic outflow warnings, with wind chills ranging from minus 20 to below minus 50.
The most extreme temperatures are forecast for the Bulkley Valley and the Lakes District, Williston, McGregor, Pine Pass, Chilcotin, Peace River, and Cariboo regions, including Quesnel, Prince George, and Stuart-Nechako.
A slightly warmer air-mass is expected to arrive later on Monday, but Environment Canada is urging residents to check on older family members, friends and neighbours due to the elevated risk of hypothermia and frostbite.
“Keep emergency supplies in your vehicle, such as extra blankets and jumper cables,” it states. “If it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for your pet to stay outside.”
Cold northeasterly outflow winds are sweeping the north and central coasts of the province, bringing windchill values of close to minus 20. They will last until the end of December.
Eastern Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Greater Victoria, the Southern Gulf Islands, Comox, Campbell River, Howe Sound, and communities off the Sea to Sky Highway can expect similar temperatures.
Environment Canada forecasts that chill will last until Wednesday with “near record cold temperatures” early in the week.
Elk Valley, Yoho and Kootenay Parks could undergo windchill of minus 35 that will last until Wednesday for Yoho Park, but moderate on Monday for Elk Valley.
Light winds with temperatures around minus 27C are expected to generate extreme wind chill values of minus 35 in Kamloops, Ashcroft and Salmon Arm on Monday, with some moderation in temperatures in the afternoon.
The Yellowhead area, including Williams Lake and 100 Mile House, could see a high of minus 40 with the wind chill Monday morning, as will Clearwater and Blueriver.
It’s so cold in Clearwater that the municipality’s mayor, Merlin Blackwell, was able to toss a cup of boiling water off his porch and have it freeze mid-air as the temperature reached minus 34C.
The Ministry of Transportation, through DriveBC, is asking British Columbians to avoid nonessential travel in sections of Highways 1, 14, 17, and 18 due to winter driving conditions.
Police in Saanich are also asking residents to avoid driving if possible due to icy roads.
The City of Vancouver has extended its own cold weather alert, and a list of warming shelters and extreme weather response shelters in the city can be found on its website.