VANCOUVER - It's cold in B.C., but we've been through worse, says Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist.
The chilly temperatures responsible for much of the recent groaning among residents are a regular and expected part of autumn, he said.
"I'm kind of surprised it isn't colder than it is," said Lundquist with a laugh, who's been on the job for 26 years. "For this to happen at this time of year is not that unusual."
Temperatures will likely come close to record lows, but probably won't break any records — in other words, it's not an unusually cold fall, he said.
Even though a cold snap of -4 C settles this weekend in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland has experienced a chillier autumn — with snow — three years ago.
In November 2010 temperatures dropped to a low of -10 C.
The same time this year, it was -6 C.
And while many Lower Mainlanders have trouble coming to grips with the cold, those in regions who bear the brunt of the winter chill don't seem to be fazed by it.
"Everything seems pretty much normal right now," said Bernie Van Tighem, the director of Elkford's fire rescue and emergency services.
"Business as usual," he said. "We're prepared for the weather — we've got plans in place."
The community is in the southeastern Kootenay region of the province, and Environment Canada has flagged it with an extreme weather warning for Friday and Saturday.
With wind chill accounted for, temperatures are expected to dip down to -35 C.
Despite the grim forecast, the cold snap hasn't resulted in any problems, because the town is accustomed to dealing with harsh weather, he said.
This time of year, the town encounters temperatures ranging from -10 to -20 C.
Van Tighem said the icy weather can cause some trouble for fire crews.
"If we do get a fire, we have to keep our lines flowing all the time," he said. "Normally you go and use the line, you put it aside if you're not using it. Now we have to leave it trickling, so we end up with freezing of equipment."
First responders haven't received, and don't anticipate, any more calls for help than usual, and the town's infrastructure is holding up fine, he said.
The cold front is expected to cause strong winds in the province's north and central coasts, and areas such as the Fraser Valley and the Howe Sound region can expect wind chill values near -20 C.
Environment Canada also said the arctic ridge of high pressure will strengthen as it moves through the B.C. Interior.
BC Hydro said it expects demand for electricity to stay high this week as temperatures plummet across the province.
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