Western Canada struggling with extreme cold
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VANCOUVER – A wave of arctic air is creating dangerous conditions in western Canada, with the entire province of Alberta under an extreme cold warning, as well as parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the Manitoba.
“There were parts of Alberta that were 15 degrees cooler than what we see at the North Pole,” Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips told CTV News Channel on Tuesday.
The culprit is a wave of thick arctic air from Siberia that swept through the territories.
“It’s dense. It’s like molasses, and it just goes down and crawls and cracks in the provinces,” Phillips said.
SKI HILLS CLOSED IN ALBERTA
It has been so cold in Edmonton that even local ski resorts are closing until the temperatures warm up.
On Monday morning, Edmonton saw temperatures drop to -41.6 C on Monday morning, feeling like -55 C with the wind chill. The mercury drops to -29 C Tuesday and Wednesday night, which will look like -39 C with the wind chill.
All of the city’s ski resorts have announced closures due to the extreme cold. Even the ski resorts in the Rockies are closing until further notice.
COLD ROUTE HOMELESS SHELTERS
Western Canadian homeless shelters are busy making sure the most vulnerable stay warm.
“What we would expect with these temperatures is an increase in the number of people who need to use the shelter,” said Shaundra Bruvall, communications director for Alpha House in Lethbridge, Alta. “We were very fortunate to have the funding and the capacity for this.
In Vancouver, extreme cold resulted in overcapacity of shelters. The city has announced that the heated shelters will be open until New Year’s Day.
Winnipeg community organizations also reached out to the homeless and distributed basic necessities.
“It’s on the road in this extreme weather, doing wellness checks, going for walks, giving people harm reduction supplies, food, drinks, a hot drink, clothes and blankets. “said Anastasia Ziprick, director of development with Main Street Project in Winnipeg.
STRONG ELECTRICITY DEMAND IN BC, ALBERTA
It was so cold in British Columbia that the province’s utility company reported residents had set a new record for peak electricity demand.
Between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday night, demand peaked at 10,902 megawatts, BC Hydro reported.
BC Hydro believes the record was set as its customers stepped up heating on a particularly cold day across the province, but says there is enough supply to meet the high demand.
However, the Alberta Electric System Operator declared a Level 2 energy emergency on Tuesday evening and called on Albertans to reduce their use of major appliances.
A level 2 alert means that operating reserves are used to meet certain requirements of the energy grid and that electrical service is maintained with load management strategies, including voluntary reduction, non-essential load and voltage reductions.
The internal load on the electricity grid peaked around 6 p.m. Monday, when demand required more than 11,500 megawatts.
RELIEF COMING LATER THIS WEEK
Some relief from these freezing conditions is expected by the end of the week. On Saturday, Environment and Climate Change Canada announced that the mercury would rise to 2 ° C in Calgary and -14 ° C in Edmonton.
In Vancouver, a high of -3 C is expected Thursday and Friday, with temperatures reaching 0 C on Saturday.
Regina and Saskatoon will also see temperatures warm to -7C and -11C on Sunday, respectively.
Phillips calls this warm-up an “intermission” and says more cold weather will be back for a second round by next week after the New Years.
“In the long term, we are talking about a colder than normal January,” he said.
“There’s always a good chance we will see some moderation taking place, maybe in the second week or mid-January.”
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