Extreme cold warning re-issued for Interior B.C.

Wind chill values as low as -40C expected in Elk Valley, Yoho and Kootenay national parks tonight

Don’t lose those extra layers just yet – the Interior is set for another bitterly cold night.

Environment Canada has re-issued an extreme cold warning for the Elk Valley and Yoho and Kootenay national parks, with wind chill values as low as -40C expected over the next 24 hours.

Overnight lows of-22C to -28C combined with brisk winds of 20 to 30km/h will generate wind chill values between -35C and -40C tonight and into Saturday morning.

Wind chill values are expected to moderate Saturday afternoon as temperatures rise.

Environment Canada has urged the public to cover up during the cold snap.

“Frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill,” reads the warning issued Friday.

Extreme cold puts everyone at risk. However, young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, people working or exercising outdoors, and those without proper shelter are considered most at risk.

East Kootenay highway contractor, Mainroad, is reminding motorists to watch for cold and windy conditions, which may bring blowing snow, as well as falling branches and other debris, and slippery sections on roadways.

Prepare for extreme winter conditions and only travel if necessary.

On Thursday The Free Press reported:

No records were broken as the Elk Valley shivered through a cold snap earlier this week.

On Sunday, Environment and Climate Change Canada issued an extreme cold warning for the region, which remained in place as of press time Tuesday.

Wind chill values tumbled to nearly -40C as a cold arctic airmass settled over the southern interior. The cold conditions prompted several event cancellations in Fernie on Sunday.

LOOK BACK: Extreme cold warning issued for Elk Valley

The finals of the Jeep Junior Freeski competition were called off amid safety concerns for competitors and officials. Fernie Alpine Resort also closed higher elevation chairlifts and cancelled all lessons.

The Community Fun Nordic Race at Elk Valley Nordic Centre was rescheduled for February 17.

Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist, Bobby Sekhon, said despite the extreme cold, no records were broken.

“However, it has been quite cold in the Elk Valley… and this comes after a fairly mild January in most places in the Interior, so definitely a stark contrast as we entered the first weekend of February,” he said.

In Sparwood, where the Elk Valley’s official weather station is located, the mercury plunged to -23.4C on Sunday. However, that didn’t come close to February 3, 1996, when a minimum temperature of -31.1C was recorded.

Monday’s low of -23.5C was slightly closer to the -26.8C record set in 2014.

Tuesday was expected to be another cold night, with a low of -25C combining with winds to produce wind chill values near -37C. The rest of the week was tipped to bring warmer conditions and some snow.

Sekhon confirmed flurries could start to fall from Thursday night into Friday.

“There’s some uncertainty around the system as to how much moisture is going to be in it,” he said.

“Of course, we’re going to be cold enough and if snow does fall it will likely be light and fluffy, so with that you can get some accumulations, however, at this point we’re just looking at a few centimetres in the Elk Valley.”

Sekhon encouraged people to check Weather.gc.ca later in the week for a more up-to-date snow forecast.

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