Extreme cold warnings issued as bitter temperatures grip Alberta

Furnaces rattled and icy truck engines choked to life across the province Friday as Albertans awoke to another bitterly cold morning. 

While there is relief in sight, much of Alberta remains in a deep freeze. 

Extreme cold warnings from Environment Canada were issued Friday for communities across the northern half of the province, following days of bitter temperatures. 

According to the agency, extreme wind chill values will continue to affect most of central and northern Alberta Friday morning. 

The biting cold will make the air feel like it’s between –40 C and –45 C. And Environment Canada is warning that people exposed to the elements could develop frostbite in minutes.

“Extreme cold puts everyone at risk,” the agency says. 

“Dress warmly. Dress in layers that you can remove if you get too warm.” 

In Edmonton, where the extreme cold warning has since ended, the temperature will hover around –19 C on Friday but the wind made it feel like –40 C this morning and –26 C in the afternoon. 

The city has activated its extreme weather plan, opening emergency shelter space for people experiencing homelessness and relying city buses to shuttle people to the sites as needed. 

On Friday, many schools districts in surrounding communities decided it was too cold for children to wait for the bus. 

Further north, the cold spell has been more severe. 

In Fort McMurray, the sun will be shining but Friday is only expected to reach a high of –25 C with a wind chill making it feel like –40 C Friday morning and –33 C by the afternoon.

Wind chills making it feel as cold as –50 C were expected in the Peace region in northwestern Alberta. 

Environment Canada expects Alberta to thaw out, at least a little bit, by the end of the week. 

“Rising temperatures will bring an end to these extremely cold wind chills by this weekend,” Environment Canada said.

As of 2:30 p.m., here are the communities are an extreme cold warning: 

  • Fort Chipewyan – Wood Buffalo National Park
  • Fort McMurray – Fort MacKay
  • High Level – Rainbow Lake – Fort Vermilion – Mackenzie Hwy
  • Peace River – Fairview – High Prairie – Manning
  • Wabasca – Peerless Lake – Gift Lake – Cadotte Lake

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