Deep freeze continues in Eastern Canada

It’s another bracingly cold morning across much of eastern Canada, with temperatures staying low enough that exposed skin can freeze in a matter of minutes.

Environment Canada has issued a number of wind chill warnings across Ontario and Atlantic Canada, as a cold Arctic air mass that settled in earlier this week hangs around just a little bit longer.

Residents in Northern Ontario are being advised to stay indoors or cover skin as much as possible when outdoors, as temperatures hover near - 40 Celsius.

In southern Ontario, a Great Lakes low pressure system is generating winds that are combining with the Arctic air mass to produce severe wind chills.

In the Maritimes, a blizzard warning is in effect for Halifax. The city has already seen a dumping of snow overnight that is causing headaches for city snowplows. And there’s still more snow in the forecast, along with temperatures that feel like -25 C, with the wind.

Another 10 to 20 centimetres of snow is expected to fall across Nova Scotia today and Environment Canada says strong winds are expected. That will lead to whiteouts and dangerous driving conditions.

CTV’s Todd Battis in Halifax says the snow is light and blowing around easily with the winds.

“This is the kind of stuff you get on the Prairies,” he told Canada AM while holding up a handful of flakes. “And the reason we’re getting that is because it’s just so dry. This is not wet snow. The temperatures are just so low here on the East Coast that we’re getting that dry, fluffy stuff.”

Halifax’s Stanfield International Airport is reporting a number of delays and cancellations because of the overnight snowfall. Officials at Dalhousie and St. Mary's universities have decided to shut down their campuses for the day.

Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick are under blowing snow warnings for Friday. Residents of P.E.I. have also been told to expect a wind chill of about -30 C, while in New Brunswick, it will feel like -40 C with the wind.

A blizzard warning is in effect for parts of Labrador as well, where between 25 and 50 centimetres of snow is expected by Saturday morning and where the wind chill is expected to make it feel like -45 C.

Over in Cape Breton, the regional municipality is wondering how it’s going to keep clearing out the snow, as it has already spent half of its snow-removal budget with three months of winter left to go.

The SPCA in Nova Scotia, meanwhile, is appealing to pet owners to make sure their animals are kept inside or provided with shelter. This comes after a dog was found frozen in the Halifax-area neighbourhood of North Preston just before Christmas.

Eastern Canada has been contending with bone-chilling temperatures for several days now.

On Thursday, record lows were recorded in more than a dozen communities in Quebec. Montreal saw its temperatures drop to nearly -40 C, which felt more like -55 C with the wind chill.

Montreal was actually colder than Alert, Nunavut, which is one of the northernmost permanent settlements in the world. The temperature in Alert was a mere -35 C with the wind chill.

Things were not much better in the U.S. Northeast, where a winter storm dropped nearly 60 centimetres of snow near Boston Thursday, and the governors of New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency. Several U.S. airlines were forced to cancel thousands of flights nationwide.

The cold snap embracing eastern Canada is expected to let up over the weekend, with temperatures warming significantly as an Alberta clipper moves in from the west. Toronto, for example, is expected to hit 0 on Sunday while Montreal is expected to hit a high of -4 C.

But temperatures are expected to fall back again come next week.


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