The cold is returning to Toronto, and the city has issued its first Extreme Cold Weather Alert of the year on Thursday.
The Extreme Cold Weather Alert will be in effect until further notice.
According to the city, “Extreme Cold Weather Alerts” are issued when the temperature is forecast to reach -15°C or colder, or when the wind chill is forecast to reach -20°C or colder.
The Weather Network has forecasted that Toronto will see a mix of sun and clouds on Thursday, with temperatures falling to -7°C this afternoon, continuing to drop to -9°C into the evening hours but it will feel more like -17°C with the windchill.
It is expected to drop even further in the night to -15°C, feeling more like -23°C overnight.
The cold temperatures will continue through Friday, with a high of -9°C, but will feel like -15°C.
Temperatures are expected to remain relatively low through the weekend and into next week.
The city is reminding the public that extreme weather poses a serious threat to vulnerable residents, those who work outdoors, people with a pre-existing heart condition or respiratory illness, elderly people, infants, and young people.
Warming centres have opened, and remains open continuously until noon on the day an alert is terminated.
The Warming Centres are located at 129 Peter Street, 5800 Yonge Street, Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre, 195 Princes’ Boulevard and Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Drive.
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.