An Extreme Cold Weather Alert remains in effect for Toronto today as temperatures dropped to a frigid -15ºC this morning.
And if you have yet to venture outside today, it currently feels more like a painful -21ºC with the windchill.
Friday morning’s alert coincides with a Special Weather Statement from Environment Canada, which is advising the public of a “significant” snowfall that’s expected overnight and last through Saturday evening.
— Toronto Public Health (@TOPublicHealth) January 17, 2020
According to the weather agency, an approaching low-pressure system is forecast to dump between 10 and 15 cm of snow on the city this Saturday. Environment Canada warns that visibility will be reduced in areas of blowing snow, which can make travel hazardous. The wind is forecast to gust up to 50 km/h, which could make travelling tough. “Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions,” reads the statement.
Today, Toronto will see a high of –8ºC, but it will feel more like –23ºC in the morning and –11ºC in the afternoon with the wind chill.
The city says exposure to cold weather can be harmful to your health and is reminding the public that extreme weather poses a serious threat to vulnerable residents, including people experiencing homelessness or are under-housed, those who work outdoors, people with a pre-existing heart condition or respiratory illness, elderly people, infants, and young people.
The city is also asking that residents help vulnerable people by calling 311 if there is a need for street outreach assistance, or to call 911 if the situation is an emergency.
During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, members of the public are encouraged to take the following precautions:
- Check the weather report before going outside.
- Dress in layers, making sure your outer layer is windproof, and cover exposed skin.
- Wear a hat, warm mittens or gloves, and warm boots.
- Stay dry. Your risk of hypothermia is much greater if you are wet.
- Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for your clothes instead of cotton, because cotton absorbs and holds moisture, no longer keeping the wearer warm.
- Seek shelter if you normally spend long periods outside. Depending on the wind chill, exposed skin can freeze in minutes.
- Drink warm fluids other than alcohol.
- Warm up by taking regular breaks in heated buildings when enjoying winter activities outside.
- Consider rescheduling outdoor activities, or limiting time outdoors, during colder temperatures, especially if it’s windy.
- Heat your home to at least 21 degrees Celsius if infants or elderly people are present.
- Call or visit vulnerable friends, neighbours and family to ensure they are not experiencing any difficulties related to the weather.