Canadians are about to get really, really cold.

Yes, it is winter and cold air is just part of the season. But as we start the week, we’re going to see a huge change in temperatures for many cities in Ontario and Quebec that are anywhere from 10-15C lower than the average. That’s not even including what the “wind chill” could be.

First let’s talk about what’s happening. On Sunday an area of low pressure will be making its way across eastern Canada. As this storm moves through, the rotation towards the rear of the storm will help to pull much colder, Arctic air from the north.

For this time of year the normal highs for such cities as Ottawa and Montreal would be about -7C. Starting on Sunday these highs will be much lower, as much as 14 degrees lower.

But this isn’t the only weather problem that the provinces are going to be facing; it is the winds as well. Winds in excess of 80kph are expected on Sunday which have triggered Canada’s national meteorological office to put out warnings for much of eastern Canada.

When you combine strong winds to already low temperatures, then the outcome is very dangerous wind chills. On a cold, windy day the effects of wind chill tell us that it feels much colder outside than it really it, and, if not properly dressed, we run the risk of frostbite of even hypothermia.

This sounds complicated, but here’s a quick explanation. Once winds starts blowing around your body, then the insulating layer of warm air is swept away, and heat is rapidly removed from the skin. When the wind blows faster, the greater the heat loss and the colder we feel.

This weather concept only applies to objects that give off heat such as humans and animals. It is a very dangerous factor, and if too much heat is lost from fingers, nose or ears, then the tissue can actually freeze.

In the next several days, it will be important for Canadians to bundle up, cover all exposed skin and make sure their pets and animals are well protected from the elements.

If this wasn’t enough, an estimated 10-30cm of snow will be falling, or should I say “falling horizontally”, causing visibilities to change quickly and make conditions on the road very dangerous.

Conditions are not expected to be back to normal until midweek..

 

Source: Al Jazeera