People wait to cross a street in Chinatown during a cold and windy day in Toronto on Thursday, January 10, 2019. The city declared an extreme cold alert. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Extreme cold warning remains in effect as temperature drops below -20 C in Toronto


An extreme cold warning remains in effect for Toronto and much of Ontario this morning as the temperature drops below -20 C in the city. 

As of about 6:30 a.m., the temperature in Toronto had dropped -21 C, feeling closer to -30 with the wind chill.

Environment Canada said the “bitterly cold” temperatures are expected to rise later today.

The national weather agency says the temperature will reach a high of -8 C on Friday afternoon but wind chill values will make it feel closer to -11.

The frigid weather will return overnight and continue into Saturday.

The temperature will warm up significantly by Saturday afternoon, reaching a high around the freezing mark.

The city’s medical officer of health also issued an extreme cold weather alert for Toronto on Thursday.

Extreme cold weather alerts are typically issued when the daily forecast suggests temperatures will reach approximately -15 C or colder, or when the wind chill is forecast to reach -20 or colder.

In addition to year-round 24-hour respite sites already open across Toronto, a warming centre is open at Metro Hall. It will remain open until noon on the day the alert ends.

Public health officials are urging members of the public to check on vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbours.

Those at the greatest risk of cold-related illnesses are people experiencing homelessness, those who work outdoors, elderly people, infants, and those with pre-existing heart of respiratory conditions.

During the extreme cold, Environment Canada also notes that drivers should keep emergency supplies in vehicles, such as extra blankets and jumper cables.

The national weather agency is also reminding people to be cautious about how much time pets stay outdoors during the frigid weather.