Dangerous cold batters Manitoba but there is hope on horizon

By | January 30, 2019

The licence plate slogan is Friendly Manitoba, but these days you’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t spouting a whole lot of profanity.

The deep freeze that has dug its claws into the province for a week now was at its most frigid Wednesday morning and the entire province was once again under an extreme cold warning.

Here’s a sampling of the temperatures at 7:30 a.m. 

  • -40 C in Winnipeg with a wind chill value of -50
  • -40 C in Brandon with a wind chill value of -55
  • -43 C in Thompson with a wind chill value of -47
  • -37 C in Churchill with a wind chill value of -51
  • -42 C in Lynn Lake with a wind chill value of -55

You could say it’s frosty in Winnipeg these days. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Not surprisingly, that has prompted another round of school closures and bus cancellations across this stretch of frozen prairie. 

See CBC Manitoba’s Storm Centre for the latest road conditions, school cancellations, business and community closures, and power outages from across the province.

Daytime highs around -30 C are expected on Wednesday, regardless of whether someone lives close to Manitoba’s border with Nunavut in the north or the United States in the south.

But the bitter north wind will make it feel more like -45 C to –55 C. At that rate, frostbite can occur on exposed skin in just two minutes or less, so bundle up if you need to go out.

As a result of the glacial conditions, CAA Manitoba said it is “experiencing unprecedented call volume and wait times” for people needing a boost or tow for their frozen vehicles.

As a result, the auto association is giving priority to members who are deemed to be in unsafe situations — stranded on the roadside — as opposed to those who happen to be at home and have shelter from the cold.

“Members have the option to call a third-party provider and submit the receipt for reimbursement,” states a service alert from CAA.

Weekend warm up

However, there is hope on the horizon,.

A system tracking across the the western prairies will slowly bring increasing cloud cover overnight and into Thursday, according to Environment Canada.

That means temperatures will gradually begin to moderate from west to east across Manitoba. However, for areas closer to the Nunavut border, the dangerous wind chill values will likely persist into the weekend.

In the south, temperatures through the weekend should be closer to normal for this time of year, which is a daytime high of -11 C and overnight low of -21 C.

“The deep freeze breaks for the weekend. You’ll be able to safely get the kids outside for some winter fun,” said CBC meteorologist John Sauder.