-40 wind chill to sweep across northern Alberta, areas around Edmonton overnight

Old Man Winter has returned to Alberta, where the northern half of the province will experience extremely cold wind chill values near -40 overnight into Wednesday.

Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning Tuesday afternoon for regions surrounding Edmonton and north of the city to the Northwest Territories.

“Arctic air has made it’s return to northern and central Alberta,” said Global Edmonton chief meteorologist Jesse Beyer.

“Lows tonight are expected to drop into the mid -30s Celsius in the north, with wind chill values into the -40s.”

Edmonton itself wasn’t included but the regions directly to the west, north and east are. Regardless, it will be cold inside the city as well.

“For Edmonton, we’ll see lows in the upper -20s Celsius, but wind chill values will be bottoming out in the upper -30s — barely missing the -40 threshold to be included in the extreme cold warnings,” Beyer said.

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“Edmontonians should treat this as if we are included with only a few degrees difference.”

The weather agency said the wind chill may moderate during the day but extreme cold will continue through the week.

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Environment Canada issues extreme cold warnings when very cold temperatures or wind chill create an elevated risk to health such as frostbite, hypothermia, heart attacks and cardiac arrest.

There are different criteria for what constitutes an emergency cold in each part of the country.

They are issued in Alberta for wind chills of -40 or lower, when frostbite can set in on exposed skin in as little as five to 10 minutes.

If it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for your pet to stay outside, Environment Canada said.

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Risks are greater for young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, people working or exercising outdoors and those without proper shelter.

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Medical conditions like diabetes, nerve damage or issues with circulation can make people less likely to notice of they are suffering from the cold.

When going outside, people are advised to wear layers and protect exposed skin with gloves, a toque and a scarf.

Boots should be waterproof, and it’s recommended people wear two or three layers of pants and shirts.

The cold snap will be short-lived, Beyer said.

“As of now, we should be much warmer by the weekend, with a high of -5 C forecast for Saturday and -2 C on Sunday.”

Click to play video: 'Alberta’s yo-yoing temperatures a literal headache for many'

Alberta’s yo-yoing temperatures a literal headache for many

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