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Extreme cold eases in the west

Brrr! Temperatures in the Prairies dropped in the wake of a snowy system Saturday
Brrr! Temperatures in the Prairies dropped in the wake of a snowy system Saturday

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

November 21, 2011 — People from B.C. to Manitoba are dealing with unseasonable -- and in some cases extreme -- cold on the heels of a snowy system. However, conditions are improving.

Sunday's record-breaking cold
Sunday's record-breaking cold

Much of western Canada has been getting a taste of winter's wrath recently.

Frigid Arctic air flooded the Prairies Saturday, causing temperatures to plunge into the -20s.

Edmonton hit a frigid low of -27°C early Saturday morning. In Grande Prairie, it was -28°C. With the wind, it felt even colder, -36 in Edmonton, and -34 in Red Deer.

It wasn't much better in Saskatchewan and Manitoba: Regina saw -26°C, Saskatoon -25°C, and Brandon -22°C. In Winnipeg, it was a comparatively balmy -15°C.

Several communities actually set new daily low temperature records Saturday, including Spiritwood, Saskatchewan, which hit a bitter -30.8°C and Hendrickson Creek, Alberta, which hit -35.3°C.

The extreme cold continued into Sunday. Edmonton hit a daily record low temperature of -36.1°. With the wind chill, it felt more like -45.

Some residents were reacting stoically to the extreme cold. Cathy Johnson of Regina tweeted the temperature was “hardly extreme” -- “Hot tub and coffee on a beautiful Sunday morning,” she wrote.

Temperatures rebounded on Monday as a strong Pacific frontal system moved across BC.

“The system will continue bring heavy snow to the BC Interior, but it will help to warm temperatures across the Prairies this week,” explains Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Snow blankets the ground in Oyen, Alberta
Snow blankets the ground in Oyen, Alberta

Last week, parts of Alberta were coping with their first significant snowstorm of the year courtesy of a low that formed off the southern Rockies. By the end of the day Friday, 14 cm of snow had accumulated in Edmonton. Fort St. John in northeastern B.C. saw a whopping 31 cm.

The system also blasted Saskatchewan and Manitoba, bringing several centimetres of snow to the southern and central parts of the provinces.

Even Vancouver got a shot of snow.

Stay up to date on the weather watches and warnings in your area by heading to the Alerts section of the website.

With files from Lyndsay Morrison

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