Cold snap comes with warning to stay warm

Environment Canada said the forecast shows another cold night is in store on Wednesday night for the Northwest.

Many parts of the region, including Sioux Lookout and Red Lake and the Far North, have been under an extreme cold warning since the beginning of the week.

“We may see the extreme cold warning extended into some other areas not currently under it, including Ignace, Dryden and the Kenora area,” said warning preparedness meteorologist Geoff Coulson. “So this cold is continuing through Thursday.”

He said the overnight lows have been dipping down to -30 C with the windchill making it feel like –40 C.

Coulson said Friday and Saturday won’t be as cold in Sioux Lookout and the surrounding areas with highs from -15 C to -16 C, but it is still be well below normal high temperature of -6 C for this time of year.

“It's still going to be colder than normal but not the same depth of cold we've been dealing with recently,” he said.

Coulson said people should be prepared for the extreme cold by wearing appropriate clothing and having a car emergency kit in case there are issues on the roadway, so they are able to stay warm until help can arrive.

Keeping people out of the cold is a top priority for organizations like the Sioux Lookout Emergency Shelter.

Executive director Tana Troniak said the shelter sees an increase in numbers when the temperature drops.

She said when this happens they open up overflow rooms and sometimes this means the shelter is over capacity but they never turn anyone away when the temperature is this low.

“They will sit in the hallway if they have to. We'll never send anybody out,” she said.

“We keep an eye on our clients if they go out and [if] we don't see them return when it's really cold, we'll contact the OPP,” she said. “We do have clients that are regulars so [the OPP] will go keep an eye on them or look for them because you don't want anyone to pass away because of the cold weather.”

Troniak said the shelter is open 24 hours and it provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

She said the shelter can always use more donations of cold weather clothing like coats, mitts and gloves, which can be dropped off at the emergency shelter located at 15 Fair Street in Sioux Lookout.

Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source