Cold winters should be no surprise to Canadians. Winter, for those living north of the 49th parallel should be second nature and relatively easy to cope with. It seems that the cold snap has most Canadians running for cover and somewhat unprepared.
An arctic air mass is responsible for most of Canada's frigid weather, which is recording temperatures in the minus double digits across the nation. According to Environment Canada's weather map temperatures range from -32.8C (-27F) in Yellowknife, North West Territories (NWT) to -26C (-15F) in Saskatoon and Winnipeg. Even Canada's largest city, Toronto, is recording a temperature of -20C (-4F). Ottawa and Montreal are even colder, recording temperatures of -28C (-18F) and -26C (-14F) respectively. In the Maritime provinces the temperatures are hovering at -18C (0F), while in Newfoundland they are at -10C (14F).
CBC News reports that double-digit windchill warnings will continue well into the weekend, when the arctic ridge is expected to move eastward, giving relief to some areas in Canada.
The high-pressure ridge is expected to move eastward through to the weekend when some areas of Canada will begin to see seasonable temperatures.
That's small comfort to cities such as Ottawa, where the local health unit issued a frostbite warning earlier today when a wind chill forecast of –35C was issued.
Blizzard and snowfall warnings were in effect along the west coast of Newfoundland and southeastern Nova Scotia, where drivers were warned to give themselves ample time to reach morning destinations due to blowing snow and poor visibility. The snow was expected to stop overnight.
Frigid temperatures in January should be no great surprise to Canadians. For the most part the majority of regions in Canada have had an easy start to winter, with many regions experiences mild temperatures well in November between 32 and 50 degrees F.
In Alberta it was mild until mid-October, but the first lasting snowfall occurred at the end of October and temperatures have been frigid throughout November, through to January. Temperatures, which are expected to hover around -14C (7F) today are almost balmy.
Mild winters are not common in the Prairie Provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba). January often brings temperatures as low as -40C, which is the same in Fahrenheit. As an example on December 13, 2009, the author woke up to a balmy -45C (49F), which is by far the coldest temperature in recent history in this area.
The experiences of a frigid winter morning are described in some detail in an article published by the author on hubpages in 2009. .
Having animals does not permit one not to go out into the elements and look after their needs. Needless to say, horses, in my case, have special needs during the harsh winter months. Forage is what keeps them warm. With dismay I stumbled into the frozen great outdoors. The animals were all fine.
Interestingly enough, my water trough was frozen on that morning. I had thought that the bowl heater had conked out, found another one that worked and went to replace it. There was no power to the court. I checked the main outlet, it worked. It was so cold last night, that the electrical cord to the heater snapped like a stick. This has been my first experience with a power court snapping.
For the most part frigid weather is never a big issue for residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Most people go about their business, bundle up. Some of the common sense precautions are to bundle up, wear mitts and a toque and be prepared with extra gear in case of a vehicle break down. Tow trucks are normally quite busy during extreme cold weather and long waiting periods can be expected. The key is to be prepared.
As sure as there is a sunrise and sunset daily, winter arrives each year in Canada. While these extreme temperatures may not be common in central Canada, they can be expected. Bundle up, heed the warnings and be prepared before you go out into the elements.
Canadians should suck it up, bundle up and think positive, after all the official start of spring is only two months down the road.