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Many 'extreme cold' warnings have dropped since Sunday, but the first day of December is still bone-chilling on the Prairies. Get the details.

December starts with a sustained deep freeze in the Prairie provinces

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Monday, December 1, 2014, 8:56 AM - Believe it or not, the first day of December is actually warmer that the last of November on Canada's Prairies.

"Warmer" in this case being a VERY relative term.

Extreme cold warnings - Environment Canada's new term replacing the agency's old windchill warnings - were in effect all across the Prairie provinces for most of the weekend.

Wind chill made it feel like -40 in many places, but even without factoring that in, real daytime highs alone barely cracked the -20oC mark, and some record low temperatures approaching -40oC were recorded.

All extreme cold warnings have dropped in the region, though they lingered into the morning in western Manitoba.

That doesn't mean a warm-up, as afternoon windchills will be uncomfortably cold to say the least.

"Temperatures will remain below seasonal across the Prairies this week, and it's not until Friday that we see a rebound to seasonal," Weather Network meteorologist Kelly Sonnenburg said early Monday morning. "A weak upper level disturbance could bring light flurries across central Alberta tonight, including Edmonton.

The extreme cold of the past weekend kept people indoors and made for icy road conditions.

Even though the city of Calgary was not included in any extreme cold warnings Sunday, public transit was still affected. Calgary Transit warned users Saturday that some routes were temporarily suspended, and was warning of delays on Monday.

Environment Canada issues extreme cold warnings when the cold reaches such a level as to increase the risk of frostbite or hypothermia. The agency says the following groups are most at risk:

  • Homeless people
  • Outdoor workers
  • People living in homes that are poorly insulated (with no heat or no power)
  • People with certain medical conditions such as diabetes, peripheral neuropathy and diseases affecting the blood vessels, people taking certain medications including beta-blockers
  • Winter sport enthusiasts
  • People who consume excess alcohol
  • Infants and
  • Seniors.

The agency also says people who have to be exposed to those conditions need to dress for it, with the following tips:

  • Synthetic and wool fabrics provide better insulation. Some synthetic fabrics are designed to keep perspiration away from your body which keep you dry and further reduce your risk.
  • Dress in layers with a wind resistant outer layer. You can remove layers if you get too warm (before you start sweating) or add a layer if you get cold.
  • Wear warm socks, gloves, a hat and scarf in cold weather. Be sure to cover your nose to protect it.
  • If you get wet, change into dry clothing as soon as possible. You lose heat faster when you're wet.

A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME? If you missed it last week, check out The Weather Network's Winter Outlook.

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