Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning affecting much of southern Quebec including the Montreal area.
The weather agency says the city could experience wind chill values near -38 Celsius on Tuesday morning due to an Arctic air mass and brisk winds.
Extreme cold warnings are issued when very cold temperature or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frostbite and hypothermia.
The City of Montreal advises against going outside if possible during periods of intense cold. It warns that frostbite can happen within 5 to 10 minutes if skin is exposed at a temperature of -30 to -35 Celsius. Other adverse health effects include possible lung and throat irritation, as well as windburn which can cause skin to become red, sore and dry.
Environment Canada adds that risks are greater for young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, people working or exercising outdoors, and those without proper shelter.
The weather agency is also reminding those with pets that if the outside weather is too cold for them it’s also too cold for their furry friends.
Extreme cold weather can also cause problems in the home such as frozen pipes, power failures, fires or carbon monoxide poisoning stemming from the improper use of backup heating systems such as portable or space heaters.
To guard against frozen pipes the city recommends turning on taps and keeping a trickle of water flowing.
Other safety recommendations include checking smoke detectors and keeping an eye on backup heating equipment, as well as turning down thermostats in rooms that aren’t being used.
It’s important to make sure that electrical circuits aren’t being overloaded when using portable space heaters and to never use camp stoves or barbecues indoors.
The cold snap is only expected to last one day, with more seasonal temperatures expected on Wednesday.