Saskatoon activates cold weather strategy as extreme cold alert in effect across province
SASKATOON -- As the mercury dips below -25 C, the City of Saskatoon is activating its cold weather strategy, designed to ensure everyone has a safe place to sleep in the city.
The strategy means several organizations are now accepting walk-ins looking to warm up during these frigid temperatures.
"As long as our doors are open folks are welcome to come here, we always have coffee on, Netflix, cozy couches," said Connor Rodriguez, community support advocate for Out Saskatoon.
Organizations offering warm-up locations include Saskatoon Public Library, The Lighthouse, Friendship Inn, The Bridge Fellowship Centre, EGADZ, AIDS Saskatoon, The Salvation Army and Out Saskatoon.
"We definitely get a lot of gratitude," Rodriguez said. "We're very fortunate to get a lot of donations from the community and it's really helpful for folks who might not have had a good meal or haven't eaten anything overnight, they get to come here and make a bagel or sometimes we prepare lunch for people."
Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning alert for parts of northern Saskatchewan and communities east of Saskatoon including Humboldt, Lanigan and Foam Lake, and in the Yorkton, Melville areas.
The extreme cold weather alert states that periods of cold wind chills are expected and wind chill effects will drive temperatures down to -40 C or colder Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Terri Lang said those warnings aren't issued lightly – they mean conditions are dangerous and people shouldn't be outside if they don’t have to be, and if people need to be outside to dress appropriately.
Lang said she recommends dressing in layers as the cool air warms in between the layers keeping the body warm. Faces, ears and hands need to be covered from the wind as well.
"Exposed skin will freeze very quickly, that's why you have to cover up with a toque, get a scarf, mitts on and good boots," Lang said. "The wind chills are so high you skin can freeze in less than 15 minutes."
Lang said the deep freeze will hover over central Saskatchewan bringing frosty temperatures through to the weekend. She said there will be a slight warm-up on Monday but it won't be above seasonal.