The first day of winter brings snow and cold that is expected to last through the holidays.
Environment Canada forecasts below seasonal temperatures of daytime highs hovering between -15 and -19C from Friday through Boxing Day, with lows between -20 and -25C.
Snow and flurries are expected today through Monday, with possible windchills making temperatures feel like -27C.
“It’s snowing heavily in B.C. and frigid on the Prairies,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Ross Macdonald.
“It’s winter, I guess.”
Worse still is “towards New Year’s Day, there’s no substantial warming coming.”
Sunshine returns on Christmas Day, yet the cold continues with a high of just -19C and low of -25C, promising a bitter wait for those lining up to take in early-morning Boxing Day sales.
Winter arrived at 5:11 this morning with no signs of the apocalypse, as supposedly predicted by the Mayans.
Today also brings the year’s shortest day, with just seven hours and 27 minutes of daylight, but hope springs eternal as days lengthen by seven seconds in the march to June’s summer solstice.
The weather also brings an RCMP caution for drivers to carry emergency kits during the busy holiday driving season.
“People going off the road could be sitting on the roadside for quite a while,” said Cpl. Al Nicholson of the Innisfail Integrated Traffic Unit.
“Be cautious. Take your time and plan ahead.
“If you’re in too much of a hurry, you may not make your destination.”
He suggests drivers also be well rested since “fatigue is a big issue. We get a lot of drivers heading down Hwy 2 from Fort McMurray to Lethbridge and they’re tired.”
Those braving the weather to skate on Bower Ponds will find the pavilion open today through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s closed Christmas Day and open Boxing Day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Dec. 27 from 4:30 to 9 p.m., Dec. 28 to 30 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., New Year’s Eve from noon to 4 p.m. and New Year’s Day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.