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Central Alberta cold snap will be short lived

The cold that beset much of Alberta on Monday should leave just as quickly as it arrived, according to Environment Canada.

An arctic ridge of high pressure and wind chills reaching -40C rolled through Central Alberta on Tuesday morning.

Bill McMurtry, an Environment Canada meteorologist, said temperatures have dropped as low as they are going to go in this weather system.

“It has allowed for some quite cold air to move down from the north across the province,” said McMurtry. “On the leading edge of that cold air, there is some very strong winds associated with that.”

Included in that air mass was some snow on Monday evening and a mixture of blowing snow warnings for some areas, including Red Deer and areas to the east of Red Deer, as well as wind chill warnings for areas north and northeast of Red Deer.

“We’re seeing some significant weather out there, some very high wind chills, approaching the -40-degree value over a good portion of the province,” said McMurtry.

McMurtry said once wind chills get as low as -40C, exposed skin can freeze in five to 10 minutes.

“You really have to take the appropriate precautions,” said McMurtry. “If you have to be outdoors, dress appropriately, and if you are outdoors, limit the amount of time you are spending there so you aren’t staying out for extended periods of time.”

Pets are also vulnerable to frostbite and their time outside should also be limited in extreme cold weather situations.

Travellers should bring a safety kit in case of emergency, including additional clothing and blankets.

Unlike typical December and January cold snaps, this one is anticipated to leave Alberta almost as quickly as it arrived.

“They tend to last for five to seven days,” said McMurtry. “This one is going to be moving off quite quickly. Today (Tuesday) is the worst we’re going to see.”

With some flurries, adding up to a couple centimetres, expected today and some cooler temperatures, McMurtry said there is a warming trend starting Thursday and moving in by Friday.



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