Winter strikes with a vengeance

When Environment Canada starts issuing warnings about the cold, you know it’s going to be bad.

Photo by RANDY FIEDLER/Advocate staff

Photo by RANDY FIEDLER/Advocate staff

When Environment Canada starts issuing warnings about the cold, you know it’s going to be bad.

How about -46C bad? That’s what it was to feel like last night counting windchill. The deep freeze comes courtesy of a forecast low of -35C, rendered truly diabolical by a 15 km/h wind.

The news doesn’t get any better today when a low of -35C will feel like -48C, thanks to wind chill. The high today is expected to be -24C. On Tuesday, Environment Canada issued a wind chill warning for most of the province. Warnings are issues when estimated wind chill dips below -40C.

At those temperatures, flesh can freeze within minutes, said forecaster Greg Pearce from Vancouver.

“So anybody who is out and about, they have to bundle up and keep everything warm or they will end up with frostbite fairly rapidly.”

Pearce said the culprit behind the cold shock is a strong arctic high pressure system that built up over Alaska and the Yukon over the last few days. “Of course, it then pushed down into Alberta over the weekend and it’s continuing to pump cold arctic air down from the north.

“The winds aren’t terribly strong, but they’re just strong enough at times to give these high wind chills.”

While it may seem bad in Red Deer, it could be worse. Residents of Watson Lake in the southeast corner of Yukon woke up on Tuesday morning to -48C.

Despite the cold, there’s little chance any records will be set in Red Deer over the next two days. A cold snap in 1950 was responsible for both the Jan. 17 and Jan. 18 records, when the temperature plummeted to -45C and -43.3C.

By the weekend, there should be some relief. By Saturday, the high is expected to reach -17C and by Sunday, -10C. By Monday, we’ll be into negative single digits at -7C and the temperature is forecast to climb back above 0C by Tuesday.

The recent cold snap has seen the record for electricity demand in Alberta broken twice this week already. On Monday, demand reached a record all-time high of 10,609 megawatts, breaking the 10,315 megawatt record set on Sunday. The previous high of 10,236 was set Dec. 14, 2009.

The Alberta Electric System Operator, which oversees the province’s power grid, was expecting another record-breaking performance overnight Tuesday.

In Red Deer, demand peaked at 135.7 megawatts on Monday between 5:45 p.m. and 6 p.m. That’s just short of the record set on Dec. 14, 2009 when 138.8 megawatts were used.

The city’s Electric Light and Power department suggests residents do non-essential tasks like running major appliances after 7 p.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Employee at Bethany CollegeSide in Red Deer tests positive for COVID-19

An employee at a Red Deer continuing care facility has tested positive… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta has identified 1,828 new cases and 15 new COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the provincial death toll to 590. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 1,828 new COVID-19 cases on Friday

Central zone has 1,251 active cases

Higher sales of cannabis helped Canadian farmers come out in the green. (Black Press Media File)
Drumheller RCMP lay charge for unlawfully distributing cannabis

A joint forces investigation involving the AGLC investigation team partnered with Drumheller… Continue reading

Three weapons have been seized and four people are facing charges following a police operation in central Alberta. (Photo contributed by RCMP)
RCMP, Lacombe Police seize loaded guns, arrest four people

Four people have been arrested and multiple prohibited firearms are off the… Continue reading

The Salvation Army's 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign includes a new $5 tap feature for pandemic-friendly donations. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Salvation Army officers safe, touchless options for Kettle donation this year

The Salvation Army in Red Deer needs help. Kettle donations are needed… Continue reading

Dan Cochrane, senior pastor at CrossRoads Church. Contributed photo
CrossRoads Church closes its doors for two weeks after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

CrossRoads Church made the decision to cancel in-house services for two weeks… Continue reading

A masked worker walks behind a hiring sign on his way into the Dover Cliffs long term care home in Port Dover, Ont., Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. Statistics Canada will say this morning how Canada's job market fared last month as COVID-19 case counts rose along with a new round of public health restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Childcare adds to strain for working mothers as pace of job gains slows

Childcare adds to strain for working mothers as pace of job gains slows

Alberta set to retire coal power by 2023, ahead of 2030 provincial deadline

Alberta set to retire coal power by 2023, ahead of 2030 provincial deadline

Bank towers are shown from Bay Street in Toronto's financial district, on Wednesday, June 16, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrien Veczan
Energy powers S&P/TSX composite index to highest level since February; loonie up

Energy powers S&P/TSX composite index to highest level since February; loonie up

Blank Unemployment Benefits form
Red Deer jobless rate down slightly in November

Red Deer’s unemployment rate dropped by half a per cent in November.… Continue reading

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia's deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting health during pandemic in B.C., survey shows

VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says a survey on… Continue reading

A woman pays her respects to victims of a mass shooting at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Three charged, including spouse, with supplying ammunition to N.S. mass shooter

HALIFAX — Three people, including the killer’s former spouse, have been charged… Continue reading

Downtown Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown after 2 p.m. sunset on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Nunavut will look to get the Moderna vaccine once it is available in Canada. Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says Moderna is preferred because the cold storage and shipping of the Pfizer vaccine is too difficult in the northern territory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter
Moderna COVID vaccine best for Nunavut because of storage, shipping: top doctor

IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut is looking to get the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau affirms farmers’ right to demonstrate after India criticizes his remarks

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy… Continue reading

Most Read