The Southwest has been under an extreme cold warning for multiple days as overnight lows dip to -39 C, reminding residents of the severe health risks these temperatures pose

According to Emergency Preparedness Meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natalie Hasell, things won’t be improving for at least the next few days.  

“When we issue these alerts, it’s not to tell you it’s cold out—you can tell that pretty quickly,” she said. “We do issue these things so that people can remember that there are precautions they can take. A lot of it is awareness, a lot of it is communication, a lot of it is planning.” 

Most of the southern part of the province is under the influence of an arctic ridge which could be sticking around until mid-next week. 

Hasell added that while it’s important to prepare and protect oneself, it’s just as crucial to pay extra attention to others. The risk of frostbite and hypothermia are prevalent over the next several days with wind chill temperatures getting as cold as -50. 

Signs to look out for that could indicate frostbite include skin feeling numb, tinged yellow or white, and hard to the touch.

Hypothermia can come with confusion, shivering, and loss of muscle control. Someone experiencing a drop in body temperature might look similar to someone experiencing a diabetic episode. 

“Pay attention to what's happening around you," advised Hasell. “How are people driving? How are people behaving? Is there something weird going on, like a person's behavior does not fit the circumstance? Well, that's important because cold illness and cold injury can happen relatively quickly, and if you're the only person paying attention, you might be the only person to offer the immediate help the sufferer might need.” 

Extreme cold is a threat to everyone. 

However, the young, elderly, those who are not properly bundled, individuals that work outside, people without shelter, and people with certain medical conditions are at greater risk. 

Keep updated with the local forecast here.