Saskatchewanians across the province woke up to frigid temperatures on Dec. 1, with temperatures dropping into the -20s C.
Environment Canada meteorologist Terri Lang said residents shouldn’t be surprised, as these temperatures are normal for early December.
Lang said Saskatchewan residents can expect real temperatures around -30 C on Saturday and into next week, with the wind chill dropping around the -40 range. She explains that this is when the outdoors can be particularly dangerous.
She reminded people that layers are the most effective way to protect yourself against these kinds of temperatures.
“It’s actually the air between the layers of clothes that are keeping you warm,” said Lang. “So, dress in those layers, make sure exposed areas are covered — your hands, your face, your head — because windchill can happen very quickly and … frostbite will set in.”
The higher the wind chill is on a given day, the higher chance a person has of getting frostbite.
The government of Canada has stated that the risk of frostbite increases rapidly when wind chill surpasses the -27 mark.
“The wind does not change the temperature of the air,” Lang said. She explained that it only has the power to remove the heat from your body quicker, making it seem colder outside than it really is.
Brandon Bishop, Saskatoon Emergency Management Organization co-ordinator, said they will be collaborating with their 40 partners within the city to try to ensure that people have somewhere warm to be.
Bishop said Saskatoon will be entering a Level 2 watch for cold, meaning that weather will reach -30 C for two days, but stay for no longer than 10 days in total.
“There is always warming locations,” said Bishop. “We are constantly working on emergency shelter beds, there is always ongoing conversations with our partners, how can we get everybody to a warm location?”
Bishop said they partner with organizations like the Saskatoon Police Service, the Saskatoon Fire Department and the Saskatoon Tribal Council to come up with effective cold-weather strategies.
Residents across Saskatchewan are reminded to bundle up over the next few days and donate any winter clothing they don’t need to organizations in their city to assist those in need this winter.