Red Deerians didn’t get much of a break from the cold in November, and the temperature will plunge to -30 C near the end of the week to kick off December.
Natalie Hasell, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said it’s certainly been an early start to wintry weather. Temperatures will stay well below normal before recovering a little on the weekend, but overnight on Thursday and into Friday morning the forecast calls for a low of -32 C.
“Hopefully there won’t be too much wind. If there is wind, that will bring you into our extreme cold warning criteria pretty quickly, giving you a definite risk of frostbite.”
An extreme cold warning is issued when the air temperature or windchill reaches -40 C for two hours or more.
Hasell said Red Deer saw below normal temperatures pretty much since the start of November.
During a short, brutal stretch of arctic weather, Red Deer beat its old record of -26.1 C set in 1945 when it fell to a low of -29.3 C on Nov. 9.
She said while it did warm up, below-normal temperatures continued until Nov. 14, before climbing back up to normal on Nov. 19 and even higher to reach 8.1 C on Nov. 24.
But the heat didn’t last, and as of Nov. 28, Red Deer had an average temperature of -9 C which is a few degrees colder than the typical average of -5.1 C.
“The colder than normal temperatures that we saw at the beginning of the month, and that we’re seeing now again, have definitely cancelled out any of the warmer than normal value and given us an average below normal for the month.”
On the weekend, temperatures will rebound to a daytime high of about -13 C and overnight low of -19 C.
She said most of Alberta will see below normal temperatures next week. It will improve slightly for Red Deer but will definitely remain below normal.
“It doesn’t look like we’re recuperating much. This is winter. Here we are.”
Hasell said that means it’s important to dress properly by covering as much skin as possible to reduce the risk of frostbite and carry an emergency kit just in case while driving.
And for those who break down on the highway and think walking to shelter is a good idea, she wanted to remind them that it’s difficult for people to gauge walking distances when they are used to driving 100 km/hour or faster.
“If your car is still intact, it’s already offering you shelter so stay in your car. Do not expose yourself to the elements unnecessarily. It’s also easier to find a car than it is to find a person.”