Red Deer residents chilled to the bone

Red Deer hit a new low Monday morning when the temperature dropped to -40.5 Celsius.

Joey Nimchuk is enveloped in a fine dusting of ice crystals as he and friends play outside St. Thomas of Aquinas School after classes on Monday.

Red Deer hit a new low Monday morning when the temperature dropped to -40.5 Celsius.

The old record of -35.6 for Dec. 14 was set in 1926, according to a temperature log that goes back to 1909 for the city.

“Red Deer is record-breaking territory this morning,” said Dale Macisky, Environment Canada spokesperson, on Monday.

But Red Deer residents were not shivering alone.

Rocky Mountain House went down to -42.9, busting its record of -39.4 set for the day in 1927.

Sundre hit -41.9, surpassing -33.9 set in 2000.

Lacombe set cold weather records on both Sunday and Monday morning.

On Sunday, the temperature dropped to -37.3, breaking the record of -36.1 set in 1963. On Monday it was -38.7, compared to the old record of -35.6 set in 1927.

School jurisdictions warned parents to ensure their children were dressed warmly.

Central Middle School student Madison Gervais was thankful boots were back in fashion.

She said most students don’t wear enough in the cold.

“Fashion over survival,” said Gervais, who wore a short, hooded winter jacket, and boots while waiting for a bus at the city’s downtown transit terminal Monday morning.

She pulled the sleeves of her jacket over her bare hands and regretted the lack of long underwear beneath her jeans.

“I wish.”

Red Deer Transit was trying to keep people warm by allowing them to wait in an empty bus running at the temporary terminal on 48th Street by the Golden Circle.

“We didn’t think mother nature would throw -35 at us,” said transit operations supervisor Shari Dixon who was walking around to inform people huddled in unheated bus shelters about the warm bus at their disposal.

Despite the cold, buses were running on time. An extra bus was to be added in the south end to help keep route one on schedule when traffic got heavy in the late afternoon.

All Red Deer Catholic’s rural buses were cancelled due to the arctic temperatures. Chinook’s Edge School Division cancelled all its buses, including those that run within towns. Gateway Christian School buses were also not running at Red Deer Public Schools.

Ligong Gan, manager of Red Deer’s Electric Light and Power Department, expected the city to set another new record on Monday for electricity usage.

Just one week ago, the city reached a new peak demand of 137 megawatts during the supper hour.

He said the system should be able to handle the demand with extra transformers in use.

“We do have ample capacity available on the system. Before the cold snap we did a lot of things to make sure we had sufficient transmission and distribution capacity,” Gan said.

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