With the wind chill making it feel like minus 31 this morning, and more of these super low temperatures remaining throughout the week, Environment Canada is reminding of the risk of frostbite.
"It's really important for people to plan their time to take the necessary precautions like dressing properly, not. Spending a whole lot of time outside paying very close attention to how people are feeling or behaving," said Warning Preparedness Meteorologist Natalie Hasell.
Frostbite, she noted, can lead to amputation or hypothermia, which can happen any time of the year, but the risk is much higher in winter.
"These types of conditions can include confusion and loss of motor control as symptoms, so it could look like they're drunk. It could look like they're having a diabetic episode. It could be the cold. So if you see someone who's behaving in a way that doesn't really quite match with what's going on, maybe find out how they're doing, and bring them inside and get them medical attention as soon as you can."
Hasell said since we've been in colder temperatures for the last few days, it might be tempting for people who enjoy outdoor sports and winter activities to go out onto the ice.
"I don't think we've had cold enough temperatures long enough for the ice to be thick enough to be safe, so people will have to plan their routes as well as their skidooing or whatever," she advised. "Stay off the waterways. It's not going to be ready anytime soon, even though we will have temperatures below 0 both during the day and at night, of course, I wouldn't trust it for a while."
For highway driving, the cold is even more dangerous.
"Generally speaking, awareness and communication is important," she continued. "Tell people where you're going, how long it's going to take you to get there, so that if you don't show up or don't call in, people know."
She shared what to do if you are driving on the highway in either low visibility conditions or in extreme cold conditions, and sometimes those two happen at the same time, and you are stuck on the highway not moving.
"If your car is still intact, stay in your car. It is already offering you shelter. It's really hard to gauge distances on the highway. We we're used to traveling at great speed, right? So that thing in the distance isn't very far when you're driving at 100 kilometers an hour. If you're walking on foot, however, it will be very far, and far enough, perhaps, to lead top frostbite or hypothermia," she warned.
"So I tell people to stay in their cars during these significant weather or impactful weather events, be it very cold or blizzard conditions. It's so much easier to find a car than an individual, for one, and the car is already offering you shelter, so unless you are literally right next to the shelter you plan on going to, you're safer staying in your car," she explained. "So gas up before you go, have an emergency kit to make things a little bit more comfortable, charge up your phone so that you can call out and request help, or at least tell people what's going on, and then be prepared to expect delays in these types of conditions and just pay attention to how people are behaving around you and stay safe on the roads."