An extreme cold weather alert is issued when Environment Canada predicts temperatures of -15 C or cooler for Toronto, and activates a number of services for the citys vulnerable residents.
Extreme cold weather alert issued for Toronto, -17 C wind chill expected
Officials said that a warming centre will open at Metro Hall by 7 p.m. the day an alert is called and will remain open until noon the day the alert ends.
Other services include notification to community agencies to relax any service restrictions, availability of transit tokens in some drop-ins, and additional overnight street outreach, officials said in a statement.
Final snow tally at #yyz looks to be 13 cm and a record low this morning with a temp. dropping to -8c. If you showed me those numbers my first guess would certainly not have been that they happened in November! #onstorm
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In the statement, Toronto Public Health asks residents to help vulnerable people by calling 311 if there is need for street outreach assistance. They are also warning members of the public to take precautions and wear appropriate clothing while outdoors.
Toronto residents should expect flurries until late Tuesday evening, according to Environment Canada, with northwesterly winds gusting at about 20 to 40 kilometres an hour. The temperature is expected to feel like -17 C with the windchill.
On Wednesday morning it will feel like it is -15 C. Temperatures are expected to get a bit warmer, with a high of -6 C in the afternoon.
Toronto‘s chief medical officer has issued the first extreme cold weather alert of the season for the city ahead of a drop in temperature Tuesday night.
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It might not be technically winter yet, but the city is still issuing an extreme cold weather alert amid a frigid blast in Toronto, and a street nurse is warning the unseasonably cold temperatures have caught those who serve the homeless off guard.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, said in a statement on Tuesday that the alert will be in effect until further notice.
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The city says it issues cold weather alerts when Environment and Climate Change Canada is calling for temperatures of –15 C or colder, or wind chill values of –20 or colder.
Environment Canada's current forecast is calling for slightly warmer temperatures than that, but not by much. Tuesday night's low is expected to be –12 C, with wind chill values making it feel more like –17 C overnight.
Wednesday's forecast is calling for a high of –4 C, and wind chill values of –15 in the morning rising to –6 in the afternoon.
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Roxie Danielson, a street nurse, said the cold has caught people by surprise and the shelters and respite centres in Toronto are full.
"Having nowhere to go in this weather, people can freeze and die on the streets," she said.
Extreme cold weather alerts allow for the activation of services that focus on getting vulnerable residents inside.
Emergency Warming Centre: The Samaritan Center will become an emergency warming center and extend their regular hours of operation by remaining open overnight, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. during an Extreme Cold Weather Alert. They will provide a warm seating area and hot beverages.
A warming centre is open at Metro Hall by 7 p.m. the day an alert is called, and remains open continuously until noon on the day an alert is cancelled.
Danielson said there is a need for the Metro Hall warming centre to expand. If it could add cots and serve hot meals, that would be welcome, she said.
Other services include overnight street outreach and transit tokens made available in some drop-in centres.
The city is asking residents to help vulnerable people by calling 311 if street outreach assistance is needed, or to call 911 in an emergency.
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