01/18/2012 01:28 EST | Updated 01/18/2012 01:52 EST

Winter Weather In Canada: East, West Blasted By Powerful Winds, Frigid Temperatures


Winter returned to Canada with a vengeance Wednesday as powerful winds knocked out power to large swaths of Quebec and temperatures plummeted on the Prairies.

About 80,000 homes and businesses in Quebec were left without electricity after intense winds and frigid temperatures swept through the province in the early hours of Wednesday. Hydro-Québec said that approximately 13,000 Montreal customers were still without power Wednesday morning, CBC reports.

Environment Canada issued wind chill and winter storm warnings for a number of areas in southern Quebec, including the Saguenay and Charlevoix. The morning temperature in Montreal was -11 C and is expected to drop to -12 C today. Schools were closed and Air Canada issued travel advisories for Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Quebec City.

Meanwhile, the mercury bottomed out in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where wind chills made the temperature feel as low as -50 C. In Saskatoon, Arctic air and westerly winds are expected to produce wind chill values of up to -49 C .

The west coast has also been experiencing rough weather. A storm in the Fraser Valley, just east of Vancouver, caused many schools to shut down Tuesday. The strong winds and snowfall prompted the closure of part of Highway 3.

Environment Canada issued an Arctic outflow warning for Metro Vancouver Wednesday that suggests temperatures will feel like -20 C due to the wind chill.

The organization has also issued a warning for Regina related to extreme wind chill conditions. In northern Alberta, wind chill warnings caused the cancelations of a number of bus services yesterday, according to CTV.

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