Another bitterly cold day leads to messy commute in Edmonton, but relief is on the way

EDMONTON — For another consecutive day, Environment Canada issued Extreme Cold Warnings for the entire province of Alberta and most of Saskatchewan.

“A multi-day episode of very cold wind chills continues,” the weather agency said. The coldest wind chills will be between -45 and -50C.

Wind will also factor in today up to speeds of 10-15 kilometres an hour and several centimetres of snow accumulation was expected.

Frostbite can develop within minutes of exposure to the cold, Environment Canada warned.

Morning temperatures in Alberta’s capital were even colder than the South Pole, which recorded a low of -26, while Edmonton was at -28.

It was so cold, Alberta’s energy grid moved to an Energy Emergency Alert 1 Thursday morning due to excessive electricity use.

Flurries throughout the morning also made for a treacherous commute, with many drivers reporting near-zero visibility due to blowing snow.

That comes a day after ice fog made for a similarly rough drive on most Edmonton roads.

The weather phenomenon occurs when water droplets suspended in the air condense around specks of dust or pollutants.

“If that layer of moist air is trapped near the surface, you get fog. And if temperatures are well below zero, you get ice fog,” said CTV Edmonton meteorologist Josh Classen. “Often in winter, it’s vehicle exhaust that provides the pollutants to give you ice fog.”

On Wednesday, the Alberta Motor Association revealed how hard it’s been hit by the prolonged cold spell, saying that two-thirds of its more than 37,000 calls for assistance received since Sunday have been related to battery issues.

On Thursday, AMA listed its current work time for service as 48 hours.

AMA recommends drivers plug in their vehicles four hours before driving, make sure tanks or no less than half-full, use synthetic oil if they don’t have a block heater and make sure tires are properly inflated.

The cold has also caused issues with Edmonton’s LRT lines.

A cracked rail line near Southgate caused major delays Tuesday and Wednesday. Crews have since fixed that line, but another line on 34th Avenue was discovered to be cracked on Wednesday night.

Crews spent the night working to fix the line in the freezing cold, which caused some delays.

ETS once again enacted its cold weather service Thursday, meaning many express buses will pull over at all bus stops along their routes.

The city’s extreme weather protocol also remained in effect Thursday, and Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre is still available for overnight sheltering.

There’s good news in the immediate forecast for Edmontonians wanting a reprieve from the biting weather.

A dramatic warming trend will move into the area over the weekend, with the high expected to rise to -16 on Sunday before hitting zero degrees and sunny on Monday.

Visit CTV News Edmonton’s weather page for the latest forecast.