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Frigid wind chill loosens grip on Prairies

Hoar frost in Alberta
Hoar frost in Alberta

Lisa Varano, staff writer

December 12, 2010 — Parts of the Prairies have felt like -20 to -30 with the wind chill for days. But cold Arctic air is moving out of the area.

Hoar frost clung to things in Strathmore, Alberta on Thursday
Hoar frost clung to things in Strathmore, Alberta on Thursday

Bone-chilling wind chills lingered in the Prairies over the weekend, but conditions are improving this week.

An Arctic high is sliding to the east and giving Alberta and Saskatchewan a break on Monday, while Manitoba remains very cold.

Across the Prairies, major cities were feeling like the -30's on Friday, and it felt like -55 in sparsely populated sections of extreme northeastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. Places like Saskatoon were still feeling the big chill on Saturday and Sunday.

“The winds aren't that strong but when the temperatures are that cold, it doesn't take much wind to cause extreme wind chill values,” says Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

“Each part of the country has criteria based on how acclimatized we are to our weather.”

Cold  temperatures froze the Prairies on Sunday
Cold temperatures froze the Prairies on Sunday

An Arctic high has been allowing cold air from the north to sink south. The conditions were right for hoar frost in Strathmore, east of Calgary, on Thursday.

The cold weather in Manitoba has produced ice jams on the Assiniboine River. The ice jams have caused flooding in a rural area. Cornwallis, southeast of Brandon, declared a state of emergency.

Ontario is getting a taste of the bitter cold as the Arctic blast arrives in southern parts of the province.

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