GTA

Toronto under extreme cold weather alert as temperature plunges to –20 with wind chill

Toronto under extreme cold weather alert as temperature plunges to –20 with wind chill-Milenio Stadium-Ontario
Environment Canada says Toronto residents can expect a high of -5 C during the day with a wind chill of -20 in the morning and -8 in the afternoon. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The City of Toronto issued an extreme cold weather alert on Monday as it braces for frigid temperatures for the next 24 hours or longer.

The city’s medical officer of health issued the alert based on Environment Canada’s forecast.

Environment Canada says Toronto residents can expect a high of –5 C during the day with a wind chill of –20 in the morning and –8 in the afternoon.

Members of the public are encouraged to take the following precautions during the extreme cold:

  • Check the weather report before going outside.
  • Dress in layers, making sure your outer layer is windproof, and cover exposed skin.
  • Wear a hat, warm mittens or gloves, and warm boots.
  • Stay dry. Your risk of hypothermia is much greater if you are wet.
  • Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for your clothes instead of cotton, because cotton stops keeping you warm once it gets wet.
  • Seek shelter if you normally spend long periods outside. Depending on the wind chill, exposed skin can freeze in minutes.
  • Drink warm fluids, other than alcohol.
  • Warm up by taking regular breaks in heated buildings when enjoying winter activities outside.
  • Consider rescheduling outdoor activities, or limiting time outdoors, during colder temperatures, especially if it’s windy.
  • Heat your home to at least 21 C if infants or elderly people are present.
  • Visiting vulnerable friends, neighbours and family to ensure they are not experiencing any difficulties related to the weather.

Warming centres available

Meanwhile, the city says its warming centres are available to offer those who are vulnerable and may be experiencing homelessness a warm indoor place to rest and access snacks, washroom facilities and referrals to emergency shelter.

The city asks that residents call 311 if they see a person experiencing homelessness who may need street outreach assistance. Call 911 if the situation is an emergency.

Warming centres are open by 7 p.m. the day the Environment Canada issues the extreme cold alert and remain open continuously until noon on the day an alert is terminated.

Homeless-Milenio Stadium-Ontario
The city says its warming centres are available to offer those who are vulnerable and may be experiencing homelessness a safe, warm indoor place to rest and access snacks, washroom facilities and referrals to emergency shelter. (Muriel Draaisma/CBC)

The city says it is activating the following warming centres:

  • 129 Peter St.
  • 5800 Yonge St.
  • Exhibition Place, Better Living Centre, 195 Princes’ Blvd.
  • Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Borough Dr.

The city’s 2021/2022 winter services plan to provide safe indoor spaces and protect people sleeping outdoors from cold weather includes:

  • Increasing winter capacity from November to April through a combination of shelter and 24-hour respite beds, hotel rooms and supportive housing units to assist people to move indoors from encampments and other outdoor locations.
  • Creating new spaces to operate a 24/7 replacement for the Out of the Cold program.
  • Prioritizing people to move from shelters to new supportive housing units on an expedited basis, including modular housing sites.
  • Operating warming centres during extreme cold weather alerts.
  • Providing additional 24/7 mobile street outreach during extreme cold weather alerts to connect with people living outside and encourage them to come indoors.
  • CBC

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