An Extreme Cold Weather Alert has been issued for Toronto today and it will be in effect until further notice.
According to the city, “Extreme Cold Weather Alerts” are issued when the temperature is forecast to reach -15ºC or colder, or when the wind chill is forecast to reach -20ºC or colder.
Environment Canada is forecasting a high of -8ºC is expected during the afternoon, which will feel more like -17ºC with the windchill.
In addition to this, the weather agency has issued a Winter Weather Travel Advisory for Wednesday morning.
“Brief periods of heavy snow are possible this morning as a cold front sweeps through the area,” read the advisory.
“While snowfall accumulations should remain fairly limited, travel could be hazardous at times due to reduced visibilities in heavy snow and blowing snow.”
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However, more extreme temperatures are forecast for this evening, with a low of -16ºC expected, which will turn into -22ºC overnight.
In addition to that, the weather agency says there’s a 60% chance of flurries in Toronto this evening.
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.
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.
Stay safe out there, Toronto.