WEST CARLETON – Rural west Ottawa finds itself in the midst of a true winter blast as weather professionals issue several weather warnings for Sunday, Jan. 20.
Environment Canada states winter storm conditions and an extreme cold advisory continue today.An additional five to 15 centimetres of snow is expected today. The snow will ease late this morning for western regions near Kingston – Prince Edward, and this evening for extreme Eastern Ontario. Northeast winds gusting to 50 km/h will also generate blowing snow leading to reduced visibilities. Storm total snowfall amounts of 15 to 25 cm are expected by tonight.
Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow. Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow. A period of very cold wind chills is expected. Wind chill values between minus 35 and minus 30 continue this morning.
This bitterly cold Arctic airmass will remain in place through the weekend with wind chill values between minus 35 and minus 30 expected today. Tonight even colder wind chill values near minus 35 to minus 40 are expected. Conditions will begin to slowly moderate early this week.
Risks are greater for young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, people working or exercising outdoors, and those without proper shelter. Extreme cold warnings are issued when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia. Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to ONstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #ONStorm.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has upgraded to a Frostbite Warning to ensure people take appropriate precautions before going outside and to encourage homeless people to seek indoor shelter from the cold.
A Frostbite Warning is issued when a wind chill of -35 or colder is forecast by Environment and Climate Change Canada for the Ottawa area. With a wind chill of -35 or colder, exposed skin can freeze in less than ten minutes. There is also an increased risk of hypothermia for people who stay outside for long periods of time without adequate protection. Overexposure can result in severe injury and even death. OPH recommends that you wear several layers of clothing to keep warm and make sure that the outer layer protects you from wind and moisture.
Frostbite results when the skin and underlying tissues freeze. Skin is white and waxy and feels hard to the touch. Frostbite is a serious condition that can require amputation. Medical attention is advised. Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite where only the skin freezes. Both frostbite and frostnip can be treated by gradually warming skin using body heat or warm water. Never rub or massage affected areas.
There are many services available to help the homeless:
- Emergency sleeping spaces in Ottawa shelters,
- Street outreach services to encourage homeless people to come in from the cold, and
- Provision of emergency transportation and other services by the Salvation Army.
To seek assistance for a homeless person, concerned citizens are encouraged to call: 3-1-1. Calls are answered by the City of Ottawa Call Centre on a priority basis and referrals are made to the appropriate services.