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Nova Scotia

Atlantic Canadians warned to prepare for extreme cold this weekend

HALIFAX — The three maritime provinces are bracing for dangerously cold temperatures on Friday and into the weekend if an Arctic air mass finds its way into the region.

HALIFAX — The three maritime provinces are bracing for dangerously cold temperatures on Friday and into the weekend if an Arctic air mass finds its way into the region.

Environment Canada had issued extreme cold warnings for all of New Brunswick, where winds will feel as cold as -50C from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning across much of northern counties.

“Watch out for cold symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and color changes in fingers and toes,” Environment Canada said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.

“Cover yourself. Frostbite can develop in minutes on exposed skin, especially in wind chills.”

The New Brunswick government issued a statement advising residents to wear layers of clothing when going outside and drink warm fluids while avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which can cause rapid heat loss.

Bitterly cold temperatures are also in the forecast for Nova Scotia and PEI where winds will make it feel as low as -40C – by far the coldest temperatures of the season so far. And it’s getting colder still in the Cape Breton Highlands and along the north coast of Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Community Services Secretary Karla MacFarlane promised that even if the government has to rent hotel rooms, anyone who needs a place to stay will be provided with a bed.

“We have stepped up our efforts, knowing what Mother Nature will bring us,” MacFarlane said after a cabinet meeting in Halifax. “If someone is in a precarious situation, there is a bed for them – a safe place to stay.”

Shelters across the province will open on Friday.

“We also have search and rescue services out there … searching in areas and connecting with service providers in their communities who typically know about people who may be becoming homeless,” MacFarlane said.

Meanwhile, the PEI Emergency Measures Organization issued a statement Thursday urging residents to take precautions to reduce the risk of frostbite and windburn.

The organization also issued a list of safety tips, including a winter survival kit when traveling by car and checking family, friends and neighbors.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Environment Canada says snow, rain and strong winds will batter the province on Friday, with a mass of extremely cold air moving through Friday night and continuing through Sunday – although there has been no indication of how low temperatures will drop will.

Snow will begin falling over southwest Newfoundland Friday morning and will spread to the rest of the island throughout the day, eventually mixing with rain over the southern and eastern parts of the island.

Strong winds and snow gusts are expected to continue on Saturday along the south coast where visibility may be limited at times.

“Travel could become difficult,” Environment Canada said in a statement. “If you must travel, be prepared for delays and allow extra time to reach your destination.”

A winter storm warning has been issued for the Burgeo and Ramea areas along the south coast of the island and a snowfall warning is in place for the southern tip of Labrador. Up to 25 centimeters of snow can be expected in both areas.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on February 2, 2023.

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

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