The City of Toronto issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert (ECWA) on Tuesday in anticipation of very low temperatures over the next 24 hours.
According to the City, ECWAs are issued when the daily weather forecast predicts that temperatures will reach approximately -15°C or colder, or when the wind chill is forecast to reach -20°C or colder.
Temperatures in Toronto on Tuesday morning fell to -9°C with the windchill bringing it down to -18°C, according to The Weather Network. Overnight, the temperature is expected to drop even further to -17°C with the windchill making it feel like -24°C.
The extreme cold is expected to let up by Wednesday, which The Weather Network forecasts as having a high of -4°C and a low of -11°C .
The City activated its warming centres on February 7 and they will remain open during the ECWA. The Warming Centres are located at: 129 Peter St.; 5800 Yonge St.; Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre; and Scarborough Civic Centre.
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According to the City, the warming centres will all follow COVID-19 protocols to ensure everyone’s safety.
Additional Streets to Homes teams will “continue to provide enhanced street outreach response to help support and encourage those living outside to come indoors.” The City also encourages anyone who sees a person experiencing homelessness and is in need of assistance to contact 311 and the City will dispatch an outreach team to investigate.
During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, members of the public are encouraged to take the following precautions:
- 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.