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Cold weather here for ‘long haul’ but heavy Manitoba snow has some positives: climatologist

An extreme cold warning has been issued for central Ontario on Feb. 4, 2022. Getty Images

The extreme cold weather that has been hanging around Manitoba over the past few days isn’t going anywhere, according to a senior climatologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

David Phillips told 680 CJOB that Manitobans should be in for the “long haul” with the bitter cold — expected to feel like -40 to -50 over the next few nights with the wind chill.

“On Monday, it was -10 C in Winnipeg. That’s three degrees warmer than normal, and then, of course, yesterday — wow.

“That was a real cold day, the coldest of the winter, but that’s going to be topped by today where you see highs of 13 degrees colder than you normally expect.”

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Phillips said the January forecast looks colder than normal — with, hopefully, a few pleasant days in there as well — but Manitoba is just the latest province to experience extreme weather in recent days.

“You shouldn’t feel that you’ve been really brutalized like people in Alberta, Saskatchewan and parts of British Columbia,” he said.

“We now have extreme weather warnings out for five provinces and one territory.

“The cold is so thick and so dense that it’s hard to kick it out — it’s hard to displace it, like a sumo wrestler. It’s immovable.”

With the extreme cold expected to last for the rest of 2021, officials are cautioning Manitobans to limit the amount of time they spend outdoors.

Signs your body is too cold include shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and numbness or change of colour in your skin.

Read more: Extreme cold warnings issued for most of southern, central Manitoba

In more positive news, the recent dumping of snow is a step in the right direction as far as the province’s struggle with drought is concerned, Phillips said.

Precipitation over the past few months has made up about 50 millimetres of Manitoba’s moisture deficit, which he estimates at around 140 millimetres in total.

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“Every little flake of snow is good news, and when you look at the year — I’m always keeping track of that deficit, how much we’ve had to make up — really, the last three months have been a godsend for ranchers and farmers and anybody wanting that moisture.

“You’re headed in the right direction. I’ve said earlier you need a monsoon — and you’re not going to get a monsoon — to correct that deficit, but we are moving in the right direction.”

Click to play video: 'Siloam Mission on Winnipeg storm' Siloam Mission on Winnipeg storm
Siloam Mission on Winnipeg storm – Nov 12, 2021

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