Toronto Issues Extreme Cold Alert
Warming shelters are open, car batteries are groaning and people in Toronto are bundling up for the coldest day we’ve had in nearly a year. The mercury will plunge to the -18 range this afternoon and with some stiff winds it’s going to feel like -30 or worse. At that rate, exposed skin can freeze in as little as 5 minutes.
Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health has now issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert.
The temperature is expected to plunge to minus 18 this afternoon, minus 30 with the windchill.
During an Extreme Cold Weather Alert, members of the public are encouraged to take the following precautions;
- Dress in layers, making sure your outer layer is windproof, and cover exposed skin.
- Wear a hat, warm mittens or gloves, and warm boots.
- Stay dry. Your risk of hypothermia is much greater if you are wet.
- Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for your clothes instead of cotton, because cotton stops keeping you warm once it gets wet.
- Seek shelter if you normally spend long periods outside. Depending on the wind chill, exposed skin can freeze in minutes.
- Avoid alcohol as it increases blood flow. You may feel warm even though you are losing body heat.
- Consider rescheduling outdoor activities, or limiting time outdoors, especially if it’s windy.
- Heat your home to at least 21ºC if babies or elderly people are present.
If you see someone on the street you feel needs help getting into a shelter, call 311.
Mayor Tory has ordered the opening of extra shelter beds for the homeless. The city is responding to calls from anti-poverty activists to do more for the homeless, especially in this current cold snap.
Two men have been found dead outside in the last two days.
The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty visited Toronto City Hall today demanding more access to services for the homeless. Mayor John Tory said the city would open two warming centres Tuesday night, and has ordered shelters to relax their usual restrictions.
Normally an Extreme Cold Weather Alert would need to be issued by Toronto Public Health for such initiatives. The two 24 hour warming centres are Margaret’s Toronto East Drop-in and St. Felix Social Ministries Outreach, transit tokens are also being offered at other drop-ins so people can get to those locations.
It’s not just you that will be feeling the cold today, your car battery will be too. Yesterday the CAA responded to 6600 calls and today is expected to be worse.
Also, the humane society is warning pet owners not to leaver their 4-legged friends outside when it’s this cold.