Temperatures plunge, Toronto issues extreme cold weather alert
Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 10:39 AM -
STORM WATCH: Tune into The Weather Network on TV for the latest coverage of this storm.
After a brief taste of spring, winter has made a demanding comeback across much of southern and eastern Ontario Wednesday.
In addition to the heavy snow and powerful winds, temperatures are expected to take a dramatic dip through the afternoon and evening hours.
"Toronto for example, will see an overnight low of -15°C, feeling closer to -26 with the wind chill," says Weather Network meteorologist Elena Lappo.
Temperatures will remain frigid on Thursday as well before gradually climbing into the weekend.
ROAD WEATHER NIGHTMARE: Blizzard-like conditions create dangerous travel in Ontario Wednesday.
As a result, the City of Toronto issued an extreme cold weather alert to "make vulnerable homeless people in Toronto aware of the dangers of staying outside too long in cold weather and to ensure they have safe and warm places to go."
Officials say the alert is in effect until further notice.
The alerts are issued when Environment Canada predicts a coming overnight temperature of -15°C or lower, without wind chill. It can also be issued when extreme weather conditions such as a blizzard, ice storm or sudden drop in temperature is forecast. During an extreme cold weather alert, the city immediately adds 26 shelter spaces for men and women to the shelter spaces available to staff looking to refer a client to a shelter bed.
"Overnight street outreach is increased in the downtown core, focusing solely on warning people of danger and urging them to get into a shelter or another warm, indoor place. Workers will transport people to warm places if necessary," the city adds.
TTC tokens are also available at some drop-ins so people can use public transit to get to shelters.