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.
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 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 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.
Via Rail spokesman Malcolm Andrews said that nighttime temperatures around –30 — which felt more like –50 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 range, while in Ottawa and Montreal the forecast called for a frostier –12, 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.