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Bitterly cold air slices western Canada

Bundle up! It's feeling like the -40's across the Prairies
Bundle up! It's feeling like the -40's across the Prairies

Jill Colton, staff writer

February 25, 2011 — Cold Arctic air is helping to produce wind chill values in the -40's for most of the Prairies.

Frigid cold temperatures are dominating the Prairies.
Frigid cold temperatures are dominating the Prairies.

It's the kind of weather that can freeze exposed skin in less than 10 minutes.

Rob Davis, a meteorologist here at The Weather Network says it's all due to an Arctic high that's been in place the last few days.

“Temperatures are hovering around the -30 mark and that's without the windchills,” he says. “It's bitterly cold just about everywhere in the Prairies.”

If you factor in the winds, which according to Environment Canada are swirling around 15 km/h, it's feeling closer to -40.

Davis says that although the Arctic high is sinking south, the cold temperatures won't disappear quite yet.

“Behind the high are very strong winds,” he warns. “This will help create a swath of wind chills which is likely to keep the cold temperatures in place throughout the day on Friday and into the evening and overnight hours.”

Earlier this week, The Weather Network was in Edmonton and asked locals why they were so good at handling the gripping cold.

“Probably because we've been used to it our whole lives!” said one woman.

“Lots of layers, lots of tea and a good attitude because that's all you can do in Edmonton!” laughed another resident.

“We're tough,” said a third woman. “Albertans are tough!”

Meanwhile, the same Arctic high plunging temperatures across the Prairies, has had the same effect on B.C.

As of 7 a.m. on Friday, Vancouver's mercury dropped to a staggering -8°C , but was feeling closer to -14°C .

An Arctic ridge of high pressure is driving cold air and strong winds through the valleys and inlets of the coast says Environment Canada. Wind warnings are in effect for several communities.

Snow has also been a story in the west. Earlier this week, Victoria was brushed with 6 cm. Local communities saw nearly 15 cm pile up.

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