Environment Canada issued a red alert for much of British Columbia on Monday. The weather service called it the worst ever for June. Readings were expected to drop as low as -25C ( -16F) in the cold and dense conditions, with gale-force winds that could topple trees and power lines.
“We are very much warning of a very severe winter event. Be prepared, be watchful and stay safe,” Environment Canada forecaster Dan Brien said. “Many trees will fall, power outages will occur and life-threatening situations could develop, not just for natural gas power lines but for structures built of steel or concrete as well.”
British Columbia has been under a red alert before. On March 1, 1993, a red alert was issued for areas of Saskatchewan and northern Alberta, then a 24-hour warning for the entire province, lasting about a month, Brien said.
“It’s certainly at the same level as we had in 1993,” he said.
There has been relatively little snowfall in the rest of Canada so far this year, but southern British Columbia is seeing record levels of precipitation, in the wake of rains on both sides of the 49th parallel in the United States.
British Columbia isn’t the only region with weather warning. Ottawa expects the mercury to dip to record lows, with sustained winds of 40 to 60 kilometers per hour (25 to 37 miles per hour) and a frost. Saskatchewan and Manitoba are bracing for extremely cold temperatures. Montreal and Quebec’s mountain regions could see below-zero temperatures late this week and through the weekend.
Parts of Ontario have already been hit by the extreme cold, including a community of 28 homes that was ordered evacuated after a handful of residents were injured by downed power lines.
North to west
Drier conditions are expected to return to much of Canada by Thursday.
In the northeastern U.S., there was no extreme cold, but a cold front that moved through did result in a few snow showers, which will give way to a warmer outlook for Sunday and Monday. The East Coast has already had two storms over the past week, one from Canada and another from the Gulf of Mexico.