Toronto endures coldest weather in two years
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 5:46AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 23, 2013 7:18PM EST
Here is something to warm you up as your toes go numb during this cold spell – relief is in sight.
Temperatures above the freezing mark are expected early next week, but before then Torontonians must endure the coldest weather the city has experienced in two years, although there are some who enjoy the bite of winter.
With an extreme cold weather alert still in effect Wednesday, the temperature dropped to -21 C with a wind chill of -29 in the morning, making it the coldest day of the current winter season.
Environment Canada predicted an afternoon high of -9 C.
The last time Toronto was colder than -20 C was Jan. 24, 2011, said CP24 meteorologist Bill Coulter.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Toronto on Jan. 23 was -31.1 C in 1976.
According to Environment Canada, exposed skin can freeze in 10 to 30 minutes when the wind chill is between -28 and -39.
The frostbite risk is low when the wind chill is -10 to -27.
In this kind of weather, people should cover their skin with layers of warm clothing, including an outer layer that is wind-resistant, a hat, mittens or insulated gloves, a scarf and insulated, waterproof footwear, the national weather agency said.
Homeless shelters fill up
When the weather is this cold, it can be a dangerous time for homeless people who do not seek shelter.
Before sunrise, CP24 reporter Cam Woolley and camera operator Mathew Reid gave a blanket and gloves to a man who was curled up on a grate that was spewing warm air.
The man’s hands were exposed to the freezing cold.
The man, whose name is Dwayne, said he chose not to go to a shelter because he doesn’t like shelters and he feels safer on the street.
But at least one person who tried to get a bed for the night was unable to find one.
Mark, a homeless man, told CP24 that he tried to get into a shelter, but it was full.
“All the beds in the city are taken, even the emergency beds,” he said. “They’re all full.”
Maxwell Meighen Centre, a Salvation Army shelter at Queen and Sherbourne streets, filled up by 11:40 p.m. on Tuesday night, so it opened emergency dorm space to accommodate more people.
People are asked to call 311, a non-emergency line, if they see someone who is in need of assistance. If it is an emergency, dial 911.
CAA reports high volume of calls
The cold created problems for more motorists Wednesday, as CAA South Central Ontario reported a high volume of calls about dead batteries and other issues.
By 1 p.m., CAA had received more than 4,500 calls for service, resulting in wait times of about an hour.
North of Toronto, motorists had to contend with slippery conditions, especially in the Barrie area, said Ontario Provincial Police.
Snow squall warnings or watches were issued along the eastern shore of Lake Huron and communities near Georgian Bay.
Meanwhile, it appears the cold spell is set to end this weekend.
Overnight, the temperature will dip to -14 C before rising to -11 C during the day on Thursday.
Highs of -7 C and -6 C are expected Friday and Saturday, respectively, before things return to normal with Sunday’s high of -1 C.
People who detest the cold will get a break early next week.
According to Environment Canada’s long-term forecast, a high of 1 C is expected Monday, followed by a high of 4 C on Tuesday – a temperature that would be 24 degrees warmer than Wednesday morning.
Normal temperatures for this time of year are highs of -2 C and lows of -10 C.
@ChrisKitching is on Twitter. For instant breaking news, follow @CP24 on Twitter.