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Power outages were affecting over 27,000 customers in Nova Scotia on Saturday morning as temperatures plunged in the East Coast and in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba

People walk through steam in the cold winter weather in Toronto, on Feb. 3, 2023.Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Extreme cold weather hit much of Canada on Friday morning, bringing with it snow and strong winds, leaving many without power.

Here are the latest updates on the extreme weather:

  • More than 8,000 customers in Nova Scotia are still without power on Saturday evening, down from 27,000 this morning. Other Atlantic provinces and Quebec also reported smaller power outages. Hydro One in Ontario has restored power to all but approximately 1,200 customers late Saturday afternoon.
  • Emergency officials on Saturday warned people to seek shelter and monitor for frostbite if they had to be outside overnight, as the temperature across much of Eastern Canada was expected to feel like -40 C to -50 C with the wind chill. A meteorologist with Environment Canada said that the cold weather warnings in the region should lift by evening.
  • The City of Montreal has opened two temporary emergency warming centres, each of which can accommodate up to 50 people between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. The centres are to close on Sunday. Meanwhile, several were open in Toronto; some still had space for walk-ins.
  • Government and private agencies scrambled on Friday to provide shelter for vulnerable people in scores of cities and towns in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, as conditions risked giving exposed skin frostbite in minutes.

  • A person takes photographs in a park during frigid temperatures in Montreal, Saturday, February 4, 2023. Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold weather warning for the region.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

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5 p.m. ET

Hydro One restores power to most customers affected in Ontario

Hydro One had restored power to all but approximately 1,200 customers in Ontario by late Saturday afternoon, the company reported. Just under 14,000 clients were left without power in New Brunswick on Saturday evening, up from fewer than 6,000 this morning. Power outages also climbed in Newfoundland, where over 3,000 clients were without power. Outages continued to decline steadily in Nova Scotia, with fewer than 12,000 clients remaining without power. Hydro Quebec still had around 18,000 clients without power, while fewer than 400 clients remained without power on Prince Edward Island.

- Emerald Bensadoun and Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel

4:00 p.m. ET

Extremely cold temperatures prolong cold weather alerts for much of Eastern Canada

A massive arctic air system that blanketed much of the country on Friday previously prompted the weather agency to issued extreme cold alerts for six provinces spanning Ontario to Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as some communities in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. As of 4 p.m. on Saturday, the bulk of those alerts remained in place, though they had been lifted for southern regions of Quebec and Ontario as temperatures were forecast to rise in those areas.

Environment Canada meteorologist Darin Borgel said the persistent, frigid temperatures and wind chill values are “unprecedented” for the region.

“This has been an absolutely record-breaking cold snap for all of Eastern Canada,” Borgel said in an interview, noting temperatures feel like -40 C to -50 C in some areas.

Borgel said the cold snap was brought on by an immense Arctic air mass that he expects will pass by Sunday afternoon.

– The Canadian Press

2:00 p.m. ET

Power outages continue in Ontario and East coast

Power outages were still rife within Ontario as of Saturday afternoon. By 2 p.m., Hydro One reported power outages for nearly 4,000 in the province, many of which were located in Kingston, Ont.

And in New Brunswick, more than 6,000 people were still without power Saturday afternoon. In P.E.I., service was restored for all but 350 of the roughly 2,300 customers who were without power at the peak of the outages.

Meanwhile, Hydro Quebec experienced record demand for power in the province, reaching 40,350 megawatts at 7:35 a.m. on Saturday, spokesperson Philippe Archambault said. It saw 42,700 megawatts around 5:30 p.m. the day before, the organization wrote on Twitter. Hydro Quebec invited customers to reduce heating and hot water consumption, and to delay their use of appliances like dishwashers and dryers during peak demand times.

– Emerald Bensadoun, Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel

12:42 p.m. ET

Quebec City winter carnival launch postponed

The Quebec City winter carnival’s launch was postponed once more because of extreme cold weather on Saturday. The self-described “world’s biggest winter carnival” was initially scheduled to start on Friday, but celebrations were pushed back to Saturday at 10 a.m., and then at 2 p.m. “The temperature announced in the afternoon will allow us to celebrate safely,” wrote the carnival on Twitter Friday night. “We will monitor the situation continuously,” they added.

– Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel

12:33 p.m. ET

Over 13,000 customers still without power in Nova Scotia

A man walks on the waterfront as sea smoke, or ice fog, forms in Halifax Harbour on Feb. 4, 2023.Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Power wrote on Twitter that over 300 people were in the field Saturday working to restore power “as quickly as possible.” Extreme cold and high winds caused outages throughout the province, with over 13,000 clients left without power in the early afternoon, down from over 27,000 on Saturday morning.

– Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel

12:30 p.m. ET

Winterlude festivities resume in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

A frostbite warning remained in effect in Ottawa on Saturday, according to Ottawa Public Health. The extreme weather caused several cancellations and closures on Friday, including the closure of the Rideau Canal Skateway, which will remain off-limits until Sunday. It also saw all outdoor events cancelled during the first day of Winterlude, an annual winter festival held in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que. Heritage Canada said on its website that the festival is expected to continue Saturday morning, launching its Winterlude National Ice-Carving Championship at 10 a.m., and reopening its Snowflake Kingdom in Gatineau at noon.

– Emerald Bensadoun

11:58 a.m. ET

Some ski resorts close, others limit activities

Extreme cold forced some ski resorts in Canada to close on Saturday, while others limited their activities.

“We can’t operate our lift safely” with the cold and the winds, said Jacqueline Murray, a manager at New Brunswick’s Crabbe Mountain ski resort, where the lodge was still open. Quebec’s Mont-Sainte-Anne noted on their website that owing “to the extreme cold warning issued by Environment Canada, the resort will open at 12pm today, in order to ensure the safety of all our teams as well as our visitors.” Others, such as Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario, stayed open for skiers on Saturday.

– Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel

11:50 a.m. ET

Toronto warming centres still have space for walk-ins

Toronto police say there have been no major incidents related to the extreme weather sweeping through the province as of Saturday morning.

Several warming centres have been open in Toronto. Three locations at the city’s Scarborough Civic Centre, Metro Hall and Cecil Community Centre still had space for walk-ins in the morning, while a fourth, the Mitchell Field Community Centre, remained at capacity, the city said in a series of tweets.

To accommodate an influx of residents during the extreme cold, the city said it had added 430 spaces to its emergency shelter system for the homeless, in addition to the 9,000 spaces currently offered at more than 100 shelters. The city said it was able to increase the number of people it could house at shelters by expanding capacity at warming centres from 142 spaces to 197 and opening 233 temporary contingency spaces at various shelter sites in some areas.

– Emerald Bensadoun

11:20 a.m. ET

Hydro One working to restore power in Ontario

Hydro One says crews have restored power to more than 11,500 customers in Ontario so far. As of Saturday morning, Hydro One reported less than 500 outages throughout the province, with outages affecting more than 1,200 in Kingston, Ont.

”We’re working to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible,” Hydro One said in a series of tweets.

– Emerald Bensadoun

11:16 a.m. ET

Northeastern United States sees lows between -43 C and -45 C

A view from the top of the observatory tower at Mount Washington State Park, where the wind chill dropped to -79 C, Feb. 4,

The arctic air has brought dangerously cold sub-zero temperatures and wind chills to northeastern areas in the United States, with several regions seeing low temperatures between -43 C and -45 C. Atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the overnight wind chill was measured at -78 C, according to the weather observatory at the peak of the northeast’s highest mountain, famous for its extreme weather conditions. Friday’s high winds were also blamed for the death of an infant in Southwick, Mass., after the winds brought a tree branch down on a vehicle driven by a 23-year-old woman from Winstead, Conn. The driver was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

– The Associated Press

11:07 a.m. ET

Cold weather warnings in Eastern Canada should lift by Saturday evening

Dominic Morin, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said in an interview that nearly all extreme cold warnings in effect on the eastern side of the country should be lifted by Saturday evening. The coldest points were reached in northern Quebec, where places like Chibougamau experienced wind-chill values between -38 C and -55 C this morning, according to Environment Canada’s website. Mr. Morin said that temperatures should climb and reach normal seasonal ranges throughout the region during the afternoon. The meteorologist warned that, in the meantime, people should limit their activities outside and take breaks to avoid frostbite.

– Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel

11:00 a.m. ET

Other Atlantic provinces, Quebec also report power outages

Other Atlantic provinces and Quebec also reported power outages affecting smaller proportions of their populations on Saturday morning. Nearly 6,000 clients in New Brunswick were without power at 10:45 a.m., according to NB Power’s website, with most of them around Fredericton and Lepreau. Maritime Electric’s website reported more than 4,000 clients without power on Prince Edward Island, and Hydro-Québec listed 208 outages affecting around 18,000 clients, most of them in Montreal and the Laurentides-Lanaudière region. Newfoundland Power’s website reported that about 300 clients were without power. Environment Canada issued extreme cold warnings for all those regions in effect.

– Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel

10:30 a.m. ET

Thousands left without power in Nova Scotia as extreme weather continues

A pedestrian makes their way through a snowstorm in Halifax on Jan. 31, 2023.Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press

There were 374 power outages affecting over 27,000 customers in Nova Scotia on Saturday morning, with the bulk of them around Halifax and Yarmouth, according to Nova Scotia Power’s website. Environment Canada published extreme cold warnings covering all the province, with some regions also experiencing wind and snow squall warnings.

– Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel

10 a.m. ET

Extreme cold temperatures across Quebec, East Coast expected to linger until Sunday

Pedestrians brave the wind and frigid temperatures as they walk downtown, Feb. 3, 2023, in Montreal.Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Residents from Quebec to Newfoundland and Labrador are waking up this morning to more extreme cold weather.

Emergency officials warned people to seek shelter and monitor for frostbite if they had to be outside overnight, as the temperature across much of Eastern Canada was expected to feel like -40 C to -50 C with the wind chill.

Temperatures in Quebec City were forecast to fall to -30 C overnight (with a wind chill index of -45) and the arctic weather was expected to last until Sunday.

Extreme cold warnings remain in effect across the East Coast, with temperatures in the Halifax area expected to feel like -39 C through the morning.

Government and private agencies scrambled on Friday to provide shelter for vulnerable people in scores of cities and towns in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, as conditions risked giving exposed skin frostbite in minutes.

The City of Montreal opened two temporary emergency warming centres, each of which can accommodate up to 50 people between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. The centres are to close on Sunday.

– The Canadian Press

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