BY KELLY ROCHE
The first day back to school and work is going to be a bone-chilling one.
“It will be a bit of a shock,” said Environment Canada severe weather meteorologist Mitch Meredith.
Temperatures are plunging Sunday night, with a low of -16 C and Monday is going to feel like -25 C.
In Mississauga and throughout the Greater Toronto Area, “we had the cold front move through this morning, and temperatures are dropping and they’ll continue to drop all night, really. We’re looking at one of the coldest nights,” said Meredith, adding it hasn’t been this frigid since last March or April.
“The windchills will be the most extreme overnight and Monday morning,” said Meredith, noting temperatures it will probably feel like -20 C by midnight.
Monday’s predicted high is -11 C under mainly sunny skies, he said.
The good news is it won’t be frosty for long.
Things will warm up on Tuesday “to -4 C but then it’s a bit of a change back to above normal on Wednesday, when we should get to zero degrees,” Meredith said.
Thursday and Friday are also looking warmer, he said.
The immediate forecast prompted Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, to issue an extreme cold weather alert Sunday.
Members of the public are encouraged to:
- Dress in layers, making sure your outer layer is windproof, and cover exposed skin.
- Wear a hat, warm mittens or gloves, and warm boots.
- Stay dry. The risk of hypothermia is much greater when wet.
- Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for clothes instead of cotton, since cotton stops keeping you warm once it’s wet.
- Seek shelter if you normally spend long periods outside. Depending on the wind chill, exposed skin can freeze in minutes.
- Avoid alcohol, as it increases blood flow. You may feel warm even though you are losing body heat.
- Consider rescheduling outdoor activities, or limiting time outdoors, especially if it’s windy.
- Heat your home to at least 21 C if babies or elderly people are present.
During extreme cold weather, residents are encouraged to call or visit vulnerable friends, neighbours and family to ensure they aren’t experiencing any difficulties related to the weather. Those most at risk of cold-related illness are people who:
- Work outdoors.
- Take certain medications.
- Are infants and young children.
- Are homeless.
- Have pre-existing heart conditions or respiratory illness. People with heart problems can experience worsening of their condition up to several days after cold weather occurs.
(Source: Toronto Public Health)