Red Deer is in the midst of its first extreme cold weather spell, joining much of the continent into the winter season.
“Out east has had a lot of snow and parts of the U.S. has had a lot of snow as well. There was five feet of snow coming off the great lakes in some parts of the Eastern U.S.. The cold air has even moved to parts of the southern U.S.,” Environment and Climate Change Canada Meteorologist Dan Kulak said. “In the prairies, you get cold in the winter. It is kind of what we are famous for out here.”
Despite the extreme cold weather, ranging between -20 degrees Celsius and -40 degrees Celsius, Central Alberta has not set records yet during this cold spell.
“When you look at the climatology, despite the low temperatures, we still haven’t set any new low temperature records. It is cold but it is not exceptionally cold,” Kulak said.
Kulak said that these patterns typically last 10-14 days and Red Deerians can look forward to more seasonal temperatures likely by next week.
“We are looking at recovery out of this arctic air mass towards the middle part of next week towards more seasonal temperatures. Daytime highs for Red Deer are roughly around – 6 degrees Celsius. Our forecast will go to around -3 degrees Celsius and maybe even around 1 degrees Celsius,” Kulak said.
Cold weather warnings do present some safety issues to the public, according to Kulak.
“You need to protect yourself and don’t go outside if you really don’t have to. You need to ask whether you really need to go outside and that applies to any extreme weather situation. If you do decide you need to go out, make sure you do it safely,” he said.
He added it is important when travelling to let people know the route you are taking and your estimated time of arrival. For outdoor workers, it is important to watch for numbing of the fingers and frost bite. Pet owners should also be aware.
“A lot of animals including dogs and cats are not built for the cold and neither are we. We are tropical creatures by nature,” he said.
Kulak said it is important that people help look after vulnerable citizens as well.
“The big thing is with homeless populations. They are really vulnerable and don’t have a lot of options. Do what you can to help those people and help them get to a shelter if you can,” he said.
He added, “Bundle yourself up. Look after yourself, look after your pets, look after the people that can’t look after themselves.”