Frostbite advisory ends as temperatures slowly warm up through the weekend

OTTAWA — The first long weekend of the year is kicking off with the coldest days of 2021 to date.

The temperature dropped as low as minus 23.4C on Friday, the coldest temperature recorded so far this winter at the Ottawa Airport.

Environment Canada says Ottawa saw a low of minus 22.3C on Saturday morning with a wind chill of minus 30.

The bone-chilling weather kicks off what Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips says will be the coldest weekend of the year in the capital region.

An Ottawa Public Health frostbite advisory was issued, but it was lifted Saturday afternoon.

Ottawa Public Health says with a frostbite advisory, it’s important to watch for signs of the four ‘P’s”:

  • Pink – affected areas will be reddish in colour. This is the first sign of frostbite
  • Pain – affected areas will become painful
  • Patches – white, waxy feeling patches show up – skin is dying
  • Pricklies – the areas will then feel numb

Frostbite mostly affects areas where the circulation is poor. If frostbite does set-in, do not rub the affected area. Warm up the area slowly, use a compress and make sure it’s not hot. Seek immediate medical attention if white or grey patches develop and feel numb. 

If you do plan to be outside, it’s best to be prepared. Wear at least three layers. This can ensure if you begin to sweat, moisture will wick away and, you can cool off. It’s important to wear a hat, gloves or mitts and a neck warmer or scarf that can cover you face. Ears, cheeks, chin and lips are highly susceptible to the cold. 

Wear an extra pair of socks along with waterproof winter boots. If your fingers or toes do become cold, make sure that there is room to wiggle them. This will create better blood circulation and the air will heat up around the area.

Temperatures are expected to return to seasonal norms in the coming week.

Saturday will be partly sunny, with a high of minus 14C. It will feel like minus 17 with the wind chill Saturday.

Periods of snow are expected Saturday night, amount 5 centimetres. Temperature steady near minus 14C.

Sunday will see periods of snow ending in the morning and then a mix of sun and cloud with a high of -7C. Family Day Monday will see cloudy with snow and a high of minus 9C.

The typical high for this time of year is around minus 5C, while the typical low is around minus 14C. 

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