Deep freeze, extreme weather grip much of Canada as winter roars in

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Extreme winter weather is hitting much of Canada, with biting cold, heavy snowfall and gusting winds causing many closures and scary driving conditions as well as some power outages, and more stormy conditions expected.

The Maritimes and Western Canada are in deep freezes, with biting temperatures in other parts of the country. Still digging its way out of a storm last night, Toronto — as well as other parts of Ontario, and areas of B.C. — are bracing for storms to hit over the next 24 hours.

New Brunswick Snow0:59

In the East, Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning for New Brunswick. A snow squall and wind warning is in effect for the Acadian Peninsula, where winds are expected to gust up to 90 km/h Friday morning.

The arctic front that brought snow to eastern New Brunswick on Thursday is now responsible for the strong winds and freezing temperatures. Schools in northern and eastern regions are closed on Friday as the bitterly cold wind sweeps through the province.

“Temperatures are currently below –20 degrees [C] in some areas,” says Environment Canada. “These cold temperatures along with brisk winds will generate wind chill values below –35 C for the early part of of today for most of the province.”

NB Power’s online outage map shows 1,507 customers without electricity at 10:20 a.m. AT.

Highway officials are warning drivers about getting on the roads due to the harsh winds.

Felicia Murphy of Brun-Way Operations, which oversees the Trans-Canada Highway from Longs Creek to the Quebec border, said there are partially covered roads and some icy patches.

“I guess the big story would be the blowing snow that’s causing drifting right now. There’s very high winds,” she said.

“Slow down, keep your speed down and yeah just drive carefully.”

In Prince Edward Island, Environment Canada has issued wind, snow squall or storm surge warnings.

Snow plow, Charlottetown, Dec. 16

A strong arctic system is still venting its wrath on P.E.I. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

Road conditions on P.E.I. are also causing problems. Route 1 in Tryon is closed, say RCMP. Several vehicles are stuck in that area. RCMP are also asking people to stay off all roads in the province.

Blowing snow and wind-chill values in excess of –31 C in Nova Scotia have cancelled many flights and ferries, and left thousands of people without power.

Some in N.S. without power

Snowy drive from Cape Breton Sunday morning0:30

Nova Scotia Power’s online outage map showed 6,360 customers without electricity at 10:20 a.m. AT. Four school districts in New Brunswick have closed schools for the day. All P.E.I. public schools and most schools in Nova Scotia are also shut because of the cold temperatures.

Temperatures will gradually improve later in the day.

Brennan Allen, a CBC meteorologist, said strong northwest winds will also allow for water to “pile up” with storm surge warnings for eastern Prince Edward Island near noon Friday.

“Temperatures will struggle to escape the minus teens in all areas … with cold wind chill values persisting into the afternoon,” he said.

Allen warns travel will be dangerous at times in Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, with snow squalls and blizzard-like conditions expected.

This weekend, another low pressure system is expected to bring five to 10 centimetres of snow to the Maritimes, but that will change to rain in southern New Brunswick on Saturday night as temperatures warm up.

“I am concerned about an extended period of freezing rain across central to northern New Brunswick where temperatures will likely fail to warm above freezing on Sunday,” Allen said.

Extreme cold warning in Quebec

An extreme cold warning is in effect across Quebec City. Southwestern winds are expected to travel at 20 km/h gusting to about 40 km/h throughout the day. Temperatures will sit at a high of –21 C and a wind chill at –38. Overnight, temperatures will drop to –23 C (feeling like –31 C with the wind chill).

A special weather statement is also in effect for Montreal. Throughout the day, the city will see temperatures at a high of –16 C and a wind chill making it feel like –33 C.

‘Significant’ snowfall expected in Toronto

Toronto winter commute

Environment Canada is predicting ‘deteriorating’ travel conditions in parts of the country. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

After a nightmarish night of heavy snow and wind, Torontonians can also expect a brief respite starting with with mix of sun and clouds before more snow arrives Friday night. A Colorado low will bring milder air to southern Ontario on Saturday, causing the snow to change over to rain and then back to snow on Saturday night as the colder air returns.

A special weather statement for Toronto is in effect in anticipation of a “significant snowfall” of five to 10 centimetres beginning Friday night and into Saturday. Some areas may receive even more than 10 centimetres, Environment Canada says.

An extreme cold weather alert issued Wednesday also remains in effect Friday morning. The midmorning temperatures was at9 C, feeling like13 with the wind chill. The city is expected to get up to just7 C by the afternoon.

Winter storm watch in effect for Ottawa

Ottawa, with a midmorning high of –11 C (feeling like –34 C with the wind chill) can expect another significant snowfall, Friday afternoon, with a threat of freezing rain over the weekend.

Deteriorating winter travel conditions can be expected as precipitation develops Friday night and Saturday.

Chilling temperatures across prairie provinces

In places like Winnipeg, M.B., wind is traveling up to 15 km/h. Temperatures are expected to fall to –23 C this afternoon, feeling like –31 C. Overnight, temperatures are expected to fall to a low of –30 C (with a wind chill of –38 C).

mission ridge sask

Snow machines are all turned on to full blast at Mission Ridge Winter Park this week, near Fort Qu’appelle, Sask. (Mission Ridge Winter Park/Facebook)

In Regina, northwestern winds will be travelling at 20 km/h near noon. Temperatures will hit a high of –22 C, with a wind chill making temperatures feel like –36 C. Residents can expect temperatures to drop to a low of –31 C, with an extreme wind chill around –40 C.

Calgary can expect gusts of wind of up to 15 km/h. Temperatures are expected to be at a high of – 17 C (feeling –30 C with the wind chill), with a low of –23 C (–30 C with the wind chill).

Storm on the way for parts of B.C.

In Prince George, B.C., temperatures were expected to hit a high of –24 C throughout the day, dropping to a low of –27 C (–32 C with the wind chill overnight).

West Vancouver snow warning

Drivers are warned to be prepared for winter conditions and give themselves extra time on Friday morning to get to work. (West Vancouver Police/Twitter)

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island, as a new Pacific front is expected to hit on Saturday night.

“It’s basically been two weeks of arctic air,” says CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe.

“Pacific air will be moving in this weekend, but as the moisture is in the cold air, it will start off as snow.”

That could mean anywhere from five to 25 centimetres of snow from Saturday to Sunday, depending on the exact region — similar to last weekend’s storm.

Territories’ chilling temperatures

Iqaluit can expect blowing snow with near-zero visibility at times throughout the afternoon and about two centimetres of snow. Northwestern winds of 40 km/h will reach 60 km/h and increase to 80 km/h Friday afternoon. Temperatures will hit –21 C (feeling like –39 C with the wind chill). At night, there will be blowing snow with visibilities of frequently less than one kilometre, and winds and freezing temperatures picking up.

In Yellowknife, it’ll be mainly sunny Friday, with winds at around 15 km/h. Temperatures will hit –28 C (a wind chill of –40 C). Overnight, they will drop to –36 C (–40 C with the wind chill).

In Whitehorse, southern winds will hit 20 km/h, with temperatures throughout the day reaching –22 C (a wind chill making it feel like –39 C). Friday night, temperatures will be steady, near –24 C (–37 C with the wind chill).

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Deep freeze, extreme weather grip much of Canada as winter roars in

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