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Canada

Environment Canada issues warnings for severe cold, storm

Just stay inside and snuggle in with a nice warm fluffy blanket, it’s just not worth venturing out.

Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning and a winter snow warning for the capital region on Saturday, advising that an arctic air mass is forecast to bring windchill readings of -35 overnight Saturday and Sunday, accompanied by up to 25 cm of snow.

“Windchill values close to -30 are expected Monday night,” the agency warned.

The Environment Canada alerts prompted Ottawa Public Health to upgrade its frostbite advisory to a frostbite warning, noting that, with a wind chill of -35 or colder, exposed skin can freeze in less than 10 minutes.

The health office and first responders are expected to be encouraging homeless people to seek indoor shelter from the cold.

Environment Canada warned the risks are greatest for young children and older adults, as well as people with chronic illnesses, people working or exercising outdoors, and those without proper shelter.

The weather types strongly advise you to cover up in layers, and cover your pets when they go outside.

By mid-afternoon, the storm had already hit Toronto and central Ontario, snarling traffic as well as flights. Ottawa International Airport advised travellers it was experiencing problems with flights to and from Toronto and advised traveller to check ahead.

And Hydro One was reporting power outages in the Lanark region, including one affecting about 9,000 customers near Perth. The utility did not know the cause for the outage, but said it hoped to have it fixed by the early evening.

Environment Canada said it expected serious storm activity beginning Saturday night.

“Snow will advance into Eastern Ontario today and become heavier this evening,” the agency said in a separate warning.

“The snow will taper off from west to east on Sunday.”

The weather office upped its snowfall forecast to 15 to 25 cm from Saturday night through Sunday, more the closer you get to the St. Lawrence or Lake Ontario.

Saturday’s “high”, if you can call it that, was a very chilly -20 C.

Temperatures will stay at -20 C overnight, winds will pick up out of the northeast at 30 km/h gusting to 50 km/h, making it feel closer to -33. Local blowing snow could make driving hazardous.

Environment Canada is calling for more snow and blowing snow on Sunday early in the morning, an additional 5-10 cm could blanket the region. The wind will still be strong at 20 km/h gusting to 40.

Unfortunately the forecast for cloudy skies on Sunday night will hamper our ability to catch the lunar eclipse. Here’s hoping the forecast is wrong, since another won’t be visible in Ottawa until 2022.

Sunday’s low will dip down to -25 C with a 40 per cent chance of flurries.

Monday looks to be a bit warmer with a mix of sun and cloud. The high -13 C, the low reaching -22 C.

Conditions should improve by Tuesday when a milder air mass moves into the region.

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