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Wind chill could get into the -40s in places Friday and Saturday

A mild winter so far will take a dangerous swing the other way on Friday and Saturday, with temperatures hovering around -30C and wind chills as low as -40 in the more northerly parts of the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

Environment Canada has issued extreme cold warnings for all of western Quebec and eastern Ontario. The warning says a cold front coming late Thursday will bring very cold winds into Friday and into Saturday morning.

A color-coded map showing weather alerts for southern Ontario.
A weather alert map of southern Ontario with warnings in red as of 11:30 a.m. on February 2, 2023. (Environment Canada)

Maniwaki is forecast to rise from a Thursday high of -5C to an overnight low of -30C and hover there until Saturday morning.

Additionally, wind chill is expected to feel more like -45.

The Pembroke, Ontario area has a similar forecast.

Ottawa, Gatineau and Cornwall, Ontario are forecast to feel a little less cold to the touch, with temperatures at or below -30C and wind chill making it feel closer to -40.

Wind chill is expected to feel more like the mid 30’s around Kingston and Belleville with temperatures in the mid to low -20’s.

It may warm up a bit during the day before falling again on Friday evening.

Frostbite can develop in minutes on exposed skin when it’s this cold.

Health stations share warning signs of frostbite and how to dress for the weather, while communities like Gatineau, Kingston, Ontario and Ottawa offer lists of places to warm up and resources for those homeless.

In addition to the cold, there are snow gusts for the region outside of the Kingston and Belleville areas, warning of sudden whiteouts Thursday afternoon and early evening when the cold snap hits.

Soon above zero again

For the weekend in Ottawa, Saturday’s temperature should peak at around -14C during the day and stay there at night. A wind chill estimate is not yet available.

Thereafter, it will return to the mild temperatures that have been a hallmark of this autumn and winter, with daily highs Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at or above 0°C.

Lack of cold and heavy snow have caused management at the Rideau Canal Skateway to doubt it can open for the start of Winterlude this weekend.

If it doesn’t open on Thursday, and that seems unlikely, it will be the Skateway’s last opening ever.

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