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Unusually low temperatures recorded as Arctic cold grips Canada, US

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An Arctic snap grip­ped most of Canada and a large swath of the northern United Sta­tes on Wednesday, with unusually low temperatures recorded in both countries, reported Dawn (Pakistan).

In Canada, extreme cold warnings were issued for scores of communities across the country, including the heavily populated provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

While Toronto reported temperatures of minus 15 degrees Celsius and Ottawa minus 25 degrees Celsius, the coldest spot in Canada was minus 42.8 degrees Celsius in Armstrong, Ontario, according to Environment Canada. Extreme cold warnings are issued “when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia,” the government agency said.

The temperatures were 10 to 20 degrees below what is normal for the season, said meteorologist Alexandre Parent with Environment Canada.
The deep cold is forecast to remain until early January, he said.
“In my memory I have never seen cold weather that settles for such a long time in such a broad expanse,” Parent said.

High winds of up to 120km per hour linked to the low temperatures have left almost 160,000 homes in the eastern province of Nova Scotia — almost one-third of the power company’s customers — without electricity, officials said.

Record snowfall in Eire
In the United States, brutal sub-zero temperatures were recorded in places like Duluth, Minnesota (minus 37.7 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday, and Minot, North Dakota (minus 29 degrees Celsius). A storm dumped a record-breaking five feet of snow in a 48-hour period on the Pennsylvania city of Erie, forcing officials to declare an emergency.

Residents shared stunning photos of the whiteout on social media, with meteorologists attributing the 58 inches of snow that fell over Christmas Day, Monday, to 5pm on Tuesday to icy winds blowing over the adjoining Lake Erie, one of North America’s Great Lakes.

More snow was expected at a rate of up to an inch or two per hour as residents were warned to stay off the roads.

Weather disrupts UK flights
Meanwhile, Britain suffered power outages and travel disruption on Wednesday, with flights delayed because of brief runway closures as adverse weather hit large swathes of the country.

More than 73,000 homes were left without power in central and southern English regions through the morning, due to snow and high winds.

Western Power Distribution — serving 7.8 million customers in western and central England and Wales — said 52,705 households had been restored by 4pm, with another 1,500 to be back by midnight.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, covering some of the other areas impacted, said it had restored power to 17,100 customers by lunchtime.
Another 1,800 remained without electricity by the evening.

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