Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Top News

Think you're cold? Your skin will freeze in under 60 seconds in northern Canada

See also

Canada is not thought of as an integral party to the four-decade Cold War between the Western Bloc and the Soviet Union, but they are certainly battling their own frigid war. Record breaking temps in the northernmost parts of North America are dangerously low, so much so that exposed skin tissue will freeze and die in under 60 seconds.

According to CTV News on March 1, temps have been dropping to -53 degrees Celsius (-63 Fahrenheit), cold enough where hypothermia will onset within seconds on unprotected skin.

Canada’s national Emergency Medical Services have been on high alert, said spokesman Stuart Brideaux.

“It’s not minutes, it’s moments for that exposed skin to be subject to frostbite,” said Brideaux.

EMS has coordinated with provincial paramedics to scoop up anyone they see struggling out in the cold. Responders are especially keeping an eye out for homeless individuals who have not made it to area shelters.

“We’d rather be giving a courtesy ride than having to take someone to hospital for losing fingertips, and it does happen,” said Brideaux. “There’s a certain threshold and then it gets dangerous.”

According to the Calgary Sun on Feb. 28, for the next several days, “Calgary will be trapped in dreaded weather system that’s also putting the rest of the prairies in a severe deep freeze where windchills in the -40C range are the rule.”

Residents of Winnipeg are experiencing similar record-busting temps. In what seems like an unending frigid grip, most Winnipeggers are fed up with the deep freeze.

“It’s too frickin’ cold, that’s the problem,” said one chilled resident.

Jeremy Penner told CTV Winnipeg that the cold weather is testing everyone’s patience.

“I think lots of people have had enough,” he said. “It's not really funny anymore. It's March 1st. Didn't get a chance to go away this year, but maybe next year. I won't make the same mistake next year.”

Yahoo! News Canada said the “Polar Vortex” that brought “frigid temperatures across the Prairies this past week were only a prelude to the worst that this particular visit from the polar vortex had to offer.”

Consider these jaw-dropping temps, as reported by CTV:

Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba plummeted towards -40 C, breaking several records in the process. In Regina, Saskatchewan, the low reached all the way down to -38.4 C, breaking a 42-year old record set in 1972. Communities like Kindersley, Moose Jaw, North Battleford and Yorkton joined in the record-breaking. In Manitoba, temperatures dropped to around -36 C in Winnipeg, Brandon and Dauphin, and wind chills got down to -50 C or below.

Advertisement