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Edmonton’s record-breaking cold expected to continue for 3rd day in a row

Edmonton is in the midst of unprecedented temperatures, with the potential for three continuous days of record-breaking cold.

The extreme cold is also putting strain on Alberta’s energy grid. An emergency alert sent out Saturday at 6:45 p.m. MT said Alberta’s grid is at high risk for rotating power outages. 

Nathan Neudorf, minister of affordability and utilities, is asking Albertans to limit their electricity usage to essentials only.

The statement asks Albertans to turn off all unnecessary appliances and lights, delay charging devices and electric vehicles, and avoid using high energy consuming devices.

Thomas Anderson with Environment Canada says temperatures at the Edmonton International Airport broke records on Friday, with the temperature dipping down to -45.9 C. The previous daily record was -39.4 C, recorded in 1969.

Saturday’s low hit -45.3 C, which broke the old record of -41.7 C. Anderson says there is a potential for a third day of record-breaking cold, with tomorrow’s forecast predicting a low of -43 C.

“We basically had an Arctic ridge of high pressure that was pulled down from the Northwest Territories near the end of last week and has persisted through the weekend,” said Anderson.

Travel being impacted

That Arctic air has brought with it some very cold temperatures and wind chills. Anderson said with those come risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

“To reduce your risk, you’re looking to wear the appropriate clothing, making sure you’re dressing in layers, you’re covering all that exposed skin,” said Anderson.

Muhammad Khan was affected by cold temperatures at the airport this weekend, where several of his flights were cancelled due to weather. Khan said he didn’t know his flights had been cancelled due to weather until he got to the airport.

Now, he’s not so sure about travelling in December and January.

“It’s very cold,” he said. “I had no idea before but now I know. I won’t be [doing] any more travelling in these months.”

Man in a red hoodie and black jacket in front of airport check in.
Muhammad Khan found out the cold resulted in several of his flights getting cancelled at the Edmonton International Airport on Jan. 13, 2024. ( Maxime Lamache/Radio-Canada)

Edmontonians travelling by car might also be out of luck. Wait times for the Alberta Motor Association are 156 hours for towing and 132 hours for a boost.

On Monday, Edmontonians can expect slightly more mild air moving in Anderson said, with a high of -18 C.

“Not as bitterly cold, but still cold compared to what we’ve experienced … this winter so far.”

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