EDMONTON — There’s one way to deal with some of the coldest winter temperatures yet on the Prairies — outright denial.
At least that’s how some folks were taking it as they strode into the Edmonton airport over the weekend after arriving from their vacations in Mexico, still dressed in their shorts and sporting tans.
Christopher Toutant walked out of the international arrivals area still wearing Bermuda shorts and a light shirt.
It didn’t occur to him to prepare for a record-breaking cold snap back home.
Peter Spiker, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says temperatures in the Edmonton area early Sunday morning were among the coldest anywhere in the country.
The mercury dipped to a frigid —46C at the Edmonton airport, making it the coldest place in Canada, he said.
With the wind chill, it felt more like —59C.
Spiker said it crushed the same day coldest temperature record of about —33C set in 1968.
The vacation buzz was soon to be killed when Toutant heard the pilot announcing the current weather conditions as they landed in Edmonton.
“My smile kind of fell of my face and I think my tan fell off along the way,” he said with a chuckle.
Bob McDonald’s tanned face stands out in stark comparison to the wind-whipped, ruddy faces of others in the terminal who are wearing heavy coats and gloves to fend off the cold.
He just spent nearly three weeks in sunny Mexico, where the temperature was over 30C every day during his vacation.
When told how cold it was just outside those terminal doors, his eyes widened in horror.
“I am in shock,” he said.
Marie Scott thoughtfully brought along some winter gear to help her daughter, son-in-law and grandson prepare for the weather after returning from their winter getaway.
“I think they’re going to want to turn around and go back. I would,” she said.
“I’m just trying to warm their jackets because they’re going to freeze just putting them on.”
Environment Canada says record low temperatures were also set in other areas of Alberta on the weekend, including Cold Lake, northeast of Edmonton and in Grande Prairie, in the northwestern part of the province.
Wind chill warnings were issued for areas of Alberta Saskatchewan as a large mass of Arctic air hovered over the Prairies with conditions that could feel like —50C.
The Alberta Motor Association also urged motorists to take along thick blankets, warm clothing and an emergency kit if they’re travelling during the cold weather.