An extreme cold warning has been issued for Ottawa and much of eastern Ontario with a “blast of cold Arctic air” headed this way Thursday night.
A similar warning was in effect for Gatineau.
In the wake of a strong cold front, expect wind chill values of -40 to -45 Thursday night and early Friday morning, Environment and Climate Change Canada said Thursday morning. Wind chills are expected to moderate Friday then reach near -40 Friday night into Saturday morning.
If heading out, dress in layers with the outer layer windproof and cover up — frostbite can happen within minutes on exposed skin — and keep pets indoors.
Ottawa Public Health issued a frostbite warning for Thursday night and continuing until further notice with wind chills expected to fall fast by evening.
“Stay safe, Ottawa,” OPH said, sharing cold weather tips .
Two centimetres of snow is expected Thursday with flurries, at times heavy, beginning in the afternoon and the risk of snow squalls and local blowing snow by late afternoon in the forecast as of Thursday morning.
Thursday’s expected high is -2 C with a wind chill of -9 in the afternoon.
Another 2 cm is expected Thursday night then, by the time flurries end in the evening, clearing skies are expected as the temperature drops to -29 C with a wind chill of -40 overnight.
Friday’s forecast high is -26 C with a wind chill near -42 under mainly sunny skies. Friday night’s low is expected to hit -27 C.
As of Thursday, the National Capital Commission tweeted. “we’ve officially surpassed our record for latest opening date” on the Rideau Canal Skateway.
“Our previous latest opening date was February 2, 2002. The extreme cold is helping, but not quite enough to build the ice thickness needed to open the Skateway for the 1st weekend of Winterlude.
“Our teams are taking full advantage of the cold weather to safely open a section of the Skateway! Flooding the ice continues tonight.”
Expect sunshine Saturday and a 60 per cent chance of flurries Saturday night. The forecast high — and low — is -17 C.
The cold temperatures will certainly put the winter in Winterlude, getting underway Friday and running through Feb. 20. The capital region’s signature celebration of of the season returns with in-person fun making a comeback after two years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic .
Temperatures are expected to rebound to 1 C Sunday with a 70 per cent chance of snow. There’s a 40 per cent chance of flurries Sunday night with a forecast low of -15 C.
“Normals” for this time of year are highs of -5 C and lows of -15 C.