Record Lows Hit Alberta As Arctic Air Moves East

Record Cold Alberta Saskatchewan Temperature

First Posted: 01/18/12 08:53 AM ET Updated: 01/19/12 10:34 AM ET

Cold, blustery weather is blowing into much of Ontario and Quebec, leaving behind frigid temperatures that have shattered records across Alberta.

On Wednesday, dozens of communities across the province were hit with temperatures below –30 C, and 13 of them were hit with record lows. In the town of Hendrickson Creek, Alta., it was a bone-chilling –41.4 C.

The frigid temperatures prompted Canada Olympic Park to cancel lessons and close the ski area.

"It gets a little bit too cold and for the safety of our guests and our staff we just feel it's not necessary to open on that [cold] a day," said Dale Oviatt, who works at Canada Olympic Park.

CBC Edmonton meteorologist Stephanie Barsby said the cold arctic air is sinking from north to south.

"So in fact, northern Alberta will see improvement before southern Alberta will," Barsby said.

At the Edmonton airport, temperatures dipped to –34.4 C Wednesday, but Barsby said things should improve in the days to come. The city was expected to see small temperature gains over the next couple of days and a big jump going into the weekend — but with that comes some snow, Barsby said.

The story was similar across much of the Prairies, with temperatures hovering around –25 C or below in many parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

In northern Manitoba, the bitter cold forced Via Rail to delay its train service from Churchill to Winnipeg on Tuesday night, leaving it 16 hours behind schedule Wednesday.

OUR WINTER SO FAR, IN PHOTOS (Story Continues Under Slideshow)

Loading Slideshow...

    Michael Stilson of Windber, Pa., shovels wet-heavy snow along Graham Ave. in Windber, Somerset County, Monday, April 23, 2012.(AP)


    Snow blankets the trees and a road in Jackson Township, Pa., Monday, April 23, 2012. A spring nor'easter packing soaking rain and high winds churned up the Northeast Monday morning, unleashing a burst of winter and up to a foot of snow in higher elevations inland, closing some schools and sparking concerns of power outages. (AP Photo)


    Two girls sit on sculptures amid the snow at Glenshee on April 4, 2012 in Glenshee, Scotland. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


    A rainbow appears as water splashes a local walking on the Sebastopol sea-front on March 3, 2012. (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)


    Palestinians walk during a snow storm in the West Bank city of Hebron as wintry weather swept through the region on March 2, 2012. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)


    Palle-Jooseppi, a male brown bear of Ranua Zoo, begins to wake up after winter hibernation in Ranua on February 23, 2012. (KAISA SIREN/AFP/Getty Images)


    Rushing Dasher ridden by Natalie Friberg (c) leads the field in to the second turn during the Grand Prix Prestige race at the White Turf horse racing meeting held on the frozen Lake St Moritz on February 19, 2012 in St Moritz, Switzerland. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)


    Golfers practice at the driving range Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 in Concord, N.H. The range opened early this year because of a mild winter. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)


    A man races his six-dog sled during the winter carnival on Jan. 28. (photo THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)


    Sea smoke hugs the Kitimat, BC, harbour on Jan 19, 2012, surrounding the tug Smit Cecil and obscuring an empty barge anchored off the dock. Warmer fresh water from the Kitimat River is caught between the ocean water in the harbour and the frigid air, creating the sea smoke which is then caught by the wind. Kitimat was experiencing -23 C air temperature on this day, a windchill of -38 as arctic air kept much of Canada in the first deep freeze of the winter. (The Canadian Press Images/Robin Rowland)


    Patrick O'Hara enjoys a walk through Springbank Park in London's west end with his daughter Quinn and grandson Aidan. (photo: The Canadian Press Images/Mark Spowart)


    David Ferguson attempts to stay warm on his walk home from work -27C weather (with the wind chill it felt like -40C) in Saskatoon, Wednesday, January 18, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards)


    Lucy Venegas, a soccer referee from Mexico in the city for the CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying tournament, catches snowflakes in her mouth in downtown Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday January 18, 2012. Cold weather has enveloped the lower mainland with Vancouverites dealing with temperatures 10 degrees below normal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)


    A cyclist is framed by icicles hanging from Christmas lights on a tree in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday January 18, 2012. Cold weather has enveloped the lower mainland with Vancouverites dealing with temperatures 10 degrees below normal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)


    A horse-drawn carriage makes its way down a street in Old Montreal during snowfall Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012. CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson.


    Pedestrians brave the blustery winter weather as a storm system hits Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick.


    Joe Graham works to clear snow from the front of his family's business in Dubuque, Iowa, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012. AP PHOTO.


    A motorist clears snow from their vehicle in Halifax on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011. A blast of wintry weather descended on the Maritimes causing numerous accidents, closing schools and delaying flights.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan


    Karen Kelly shovels a walkway as snow removal crews clean up on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, November 23, 2011, after the first snowfall of the season brought upwards of 10 cm of snow to the nation's capital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)


    A woman cleans snow from her car in Montreal, Wednesday, November 23, 2011 as the first heavy snowfall of winter hits Montreal and surrounding areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes


    Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson makes his way along Wellington Street during a snowfall in Ottawa on Wednesday, November 23, 2011. The first snowfall of the season brought upwards of 10 cm of snow to the Nations capital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)


    Beijingers walk through the first snowfall of the year at a section of the rebuilt city wall in Beijing on December 2, 2011. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)


    Shoppers walk past large piles of snow in Samara's Leningradskaya Street on November 10, 2011 in Samara, Russia. Samara is one of thirteen proposed host cities as Russia prepares to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)


    A horse stands in the intense wind and snow Monday, Dec., 5, 2011 near his corral off of Highway 70 in Las Cruces, N.M. Snowfall started to blanket the City of the Crosses at about 11 a.m. and steadily continued throughout the day. (AP Photo/Las Cruces Sun-News, Shari V. Hill)


    Traffic backs up behind snow plows clearing a street in Denver on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. As much as seven inches of snow is in the forecast for the Mile High City on Thursday. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)


    Ruth Chauff, of New Orleans, laughs after making a small snowman near Point Park on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011., after snow fell across the Chattanooga, Tenn., area. She made a snowman with her daughter April Fontenot, not seen. (AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press, Jake Daniels)


    Snow covers Narikala, an ancient fortress dominating Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)


    Leaves and snow rest on the ground after a winter storm October 30, 2011 in Hartsville, Pennsylvania. Thousands in Pennsylvania and Delaware were left without power from the early winter storm that left up to 10 inches of snow in parts of the states. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)


    An early snow covers tackling dummies at Signal Mountain High School football practice field, in Signal Mountain, Tenn., early Tuesday morning, Nov. 29, 2011. The snowfall is considered early for the region. (AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press, Dan Henry)


    Paul Worsowicz watches his putt during the traditional 29th annual Thanksgiving Day golf tournament Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011 in Concord, N.H. More than 100 players showed up at sunrise to play nine holes in the snow covered course.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)


    A flock of wild turkeys walk through a snow-covered field Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 in East Montpelier, Vt. Snow mixed with sleet and freezing rain is knocking out power to thousands of Vermonters and making the morning commute a slippery one.(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Via Rail spokesman Malcolm Andrews said that nighttime temperatures around –30 C — which felt more like –50 C with the wind chill — caused the delay. Via Rail's service to and from Churchill rarely gets delayed by cold weather, he added.

The cold, blustery weather is blowing east into Ontario and Quebec. Ontario residents near the lower Great Lakes were expected to see temperatures in the –4 to –6 C range, while in Ottawa and Montreal the forecast called for a frostier –12 C, CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe reported Wednesday.

"The story today from pretty much coast to coast is winter has arrived," Wagstaffe said.

By early Wednesday, a fierce freezing rain and wind storm that rolled through Quebec had left more than 80,000 homes and businesses without power. By late Wednesday afternoon Hydro Québec said 10,000 customers remained without power, most of them in Montreal.

Conditions were forecast to be clear for most of Ontario and Quebec, with the chilly temperatures expected to linger for the next couple of days.

"There are some snow squall watches towards Lake Superior, but it's mainly a mix of sun and cloud. Watch for those snow squalls, though," said Wagstaffe.

Warm front moves through Maritimes

Farther east, the Maritimes were expected to see showers and enjoy the last of the warm front before temperatures take a 15-degree plunge in the evening.

"We're still looking at fog across the Maritimes, which is seeing the last of the warm air.… but that cold front is quickly sweeping east," Wagstaffe said.

On P.E.I., islanders were in store for a wild temperature swing. Highs on Wednesday were forecast to hit 6 C, before plummeting to –12 C overnight.

Snow in Vancouver, Victoria

Both Victoria and Vancouver saw snow Wednesday morning, making a messy morning commute for many.

The blustery winter weather prompted officials to close many schools in the province's capital, and BC Transit had to take detours on several bus routes early Wednesday. Environment Canada forecast a low of –7 C for Victoria overnight, with a chance of flurries through the night and early in the morning.

In the Fraser Valley, winds had "eased somewhat" but were expected to remain gusty through Thursday, Environment Canada said.

The Central Coast and the North Coast were still under an "arctic outflow" warning and could see windchill values of –20 and below, the federal weather agency said.

The wintry weather is also taking a toll in the Northwest Territories, leaving serious damage to the Inuvik airport's roof overnight. The high winds and blowing snow even sent a hot tub drifting down the main street in Inuvik.


Filed by Brodie Fenlon  |