Freezing temperatures and poor weather conditions that have hit the Prairies in recent days are believed to have contributed to a woman's death and caused school closures and service delays.
Paramedics say a woman in her 80s was trapped for at least an hour outside a home near Didsbury in central Alberta on Monday.
She had tripped getting out of her vehicle and her leg became pinned so she couldn't get up.
She was found by a family member, but died in a Calgary hospital.
Temperatures across much of Alberta and Saskatchewan have been near -20 C, with wind chill making it feel much colder.
Southern Manitoba, meanwhile, has been hit hard by a snowstorm that forced more than a dozen school divisions to close and made busing difficult in others.
Scenes from Manitoba snow storm pic.twitter.com/in0NhFNCZk
— The Daily Lede (@TheDailyLede) December 7, 2016
The Trans-Canada is closed from Portage la Prairie to the Saskatchewan boundary along with Highway 5 from Winnipeg to the U.S. border.
One truck driver said he had been stuck at a roadblock since sunrise on Tuesday, but he wasn't worried.
"I have a TV, a DVD player, a fridge and a microwave – I'm OK,'' he told CTV Winnipeg.
Jeff McConnell, the mayor of Virden, Man., tweeted that the community was expecting dozens of stranded travellers and had opened up the local arena to accommodate them.
— Jeff McConnell (@virdenmayor) December 6, 2016
He also said that actor/singer Tom Jackson, who was one of those caught on the storm, had decided to hold an impromptu concert Tuesday night and had invited local musicians to come join him.
Our Huron Carole concert is cancelled in Brandon. Highway closed. Stranded in Virden. Going to play for the Folks here tonight. Lift spirits
— Tom Jackson (@tomjacksonca) December 6, 2016
Environment Canada storm warnings have been replaced with blowing snow advisories in Manitoba Wednesday with more snow expected.
The agency warned of poor driving conditions and near-zero visibility at times, especially in the Red River Valley of southwestern Manitoba.
Bitterly cold arctic air is expected to sweep in behind the system. Lows are predicted to hit -20 C by the end of the week accompanied by wind-chill values in the -30 C to -35 C range.
Drivers are being urged to consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve.
(CFFR, CTV Regina, CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)
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You may have heard of "brown fat," a type of fat found naturally in parts of the body that, when triggered, can burn off other "white" fat. In a 2012 study, researchers found that cold weather seemed to set the brown fat into motion, and that simply being cold could cause significant calorie burn. (Exercise may have a similar effect, as demonstrated in a study from around the same time, the New York Times reported.) The study, admittedly, was small -- it only included six healthy men, to be exact. And experts caution that the obesity epidemic is not likely to be solved by the creation of a brown-fat triggering pill. But at least the idea might offer a little comfort when you find yourself chilled to the bone.
It can be tempting to spend the coldest mornings safely tucked under the covers; it's only natural to want to avoid the most brutal temps. But during periods of such weather-induced isolation, we tend to reach out to contact our closest friends and family on the phone, and end up chatting with them for longer than usual, according to a 2012 study.
During the summer of 2012 -- when West Nile cases were climbing -- much was made of the milder 2011-2012 winter and its effect on the disease-spreading mosquito population. The pests thrive in milder climates, meaning they were able to survive -- and breed -- all winter, just waiting to feast come spring. Freezing or below-freezing temps might kill off some skeeters (and ticks), thereby protecting you from the illnesses they are known to spread.
Week after week of balmy weather sounds pretty lovely right about now, but there's evidence to suggest that it doesn't necessarily make you happy. In fact, some research suggests that if the weather never changes, you start taking that sunshine for granted. Shivering through the cold makes those warm spring days seem even better when they finally come along, according to Psychology Today.
There's a reason putting ice on an injury works. That drop in temperature reduces inflammation in, say, a sprained ankle or stubbed toe. But the theory works on a much grander scale, too -- cold temperatures can reduce inflammation and pain all over. In fact, athletes and spa-goers even have a remedy of sorts available for muscle recovery. A 2011 study found that, at extremely low temperatures, such treatments, called cryotherapy, did more for athletes to recover from physical activity than simply resting. Runners who were exposed to temperatures as low as -166 degrees F recovered from exercise faster than those who given other therapies or told to rest, The Atlantic reported. At spas, cryotherapy chambers appear much like steam rooms -- with, of course, the opposite effect. And while the majority of us probably won't be taking a trip to the cold room, it certainly beats summer swelling!
While we certainly don't advise going all-out on the wintertime comfort foods, we do appreciate the escape from the pressure to get a "bikini body." It's a great time to focus on fitness -- hello, New Year's resolutions -- without the pressure to do so for your looks alone.