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Snowy, frigid weather forecast for Edmonton and area

Environment Canada is calling for an Alberta Clipper to sweep through the Capital region today, leaving behind between 5 to 10cm of snow, in addition to 2cm forecast later this evening due to lingering snow clouds.  

Then, an arctic air mass, often labeled a polar vortex, will shift South to plunge Central Alberta into a deep freeze. 

“Temperatures will start dropping Wednesday, but under cloudy skies, they may stay relatively mild once skies clear start of Thursday, Friday … we’re expecting to really, really cold temperatures to come in,” lead meteorologist with Environment Canada, Rob Griffith told Heartland News. 

The current forecast has daytime highs of -22°C on Wednesday; -29°C on Thursday; and -30°C on Friday in and around Edmonton, 

“Right now it looks like the coldest temperature will come early Saturday morning, the overnight low for Friday night into Saturday morning, right now we have -38°C in the forecast … it should be kind of around that -35°C to -40°C range and that’s just the temperature. So that’s before the windchill,” Griffith predicted. 

With such cold temperatures expected, Griffith warns to guard against frostbite, “If you are going to be outside, you need to dress in layers, cover up exposed skin, but ideally you’re trying to avoid being outside if possible, rescheduling activities you had planned things like that,” he said. 

Edmonton Activates Extreme Cold Weather Response  

Given the extreme cold, the City of Edmonton has activated an extreme weather response plan until at least Thursday, January 18. The plan is designed to protect vulnerable Edmontonians from the life-threatening temperatures expected in the days ahead. 

In a media release, Edmonton said it is encouraging homeless people to seek shelter and outlines some of the steps it has taken to bolster community supports, including expanding overnight shelter offered at the city-funded Al Rashid Mosque in North Edmonton by an additional 50 temporary shelter spaces, which are available for use between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. 

In addition, daytime warming centres are open seven days a week through Bissell Centre, Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. People will have access to laundry, showers, food, and housing. There are also Indigenous cultural, mental health, and employment supports, the city says. 

Boyle Street Community Services is offering increased capacity at its network of warming hubs at the following locations: 

  • CO*LAB (9641 102A Ave NW), Sunday to Thursday 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. 
  • St. Faith’s Anglican Church (11725 93 St NW), Thursday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Friday 1 p.m. until 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. 
  • St. Luke’s Anglican Church (8424 95 Ave NW), Monday and Wednesday 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. 
  • All Saints Anglican Cathedral (10035 103 St NW), Tuesday 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. 
  • St Mary’s Anglican Church (11203 68 St NW), Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. 
  • Good Shepherd Anglican Church (15495 Castle Downs Road NW), Monday and Tuesday 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. 
  • C5 NE Hub (14017 Victoria Trail), Sunday 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., Monday to Wed 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.  
  • Stony Plain Road (15308 Stony Plain Road), Monday to Sunday 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. 

The city is also adding a third bus to an overnight winter shelter route which normally operates with two buses between November and the end of March. The city says support staff will be riding along on each bus to help passengers access emergency shelter and other services. These routes operate between 11 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. The buses will stop for anyone at any stop along the following extreme weather bus routes: 

  • North route starting from Northgate Transit Centre to downtown;  
  • South route starting from Southgate Transit Centre to downtown; 
  • West route starting from Stadium Transit Centre to downtown. 

The city says the cold weather emergency plan is activated when extreme temperatures are in the forecast for three consecutive days and that, if necessary, the initiative can be extended if the weather remains dire. 

Below: A Winter scene in Edmonton photographed by Piero Damiani.