(Updated) The frigid weather has led to at least one shattered weather record. Hamilton hit a low of minus 24 this morning, breaking the 1968 record of minus 20.
It’s part of a deep freeze enveloping much of North America, called a polar vortex. The system sucks arctic winds and blasts them southward into normally temperate regions.
Environment Canada says most of the province is under wind chill warnings. Extreme caution is advised for people heading outdoors as exposed skin can freeze in less than five minutes.
The cold is creating problems at dozens of airports, including Pearson, which has issued a “ground stop.” That means that flights cannot land there, and also potentially long delays. CHCH News found hundreds of frustrated travellers stranded in the terminal.
And there is blowing snow and very poor driving conditions in Halton region. Police there have been dealing with a number of collisions around Milton and Halton Hills. They actually asked drivers to stay off the roads overnight. Lots of vehicles were stuck in drifting snow on Ninth line.
In London, both Western and Fanshawe have cancelled classes today because of the cold, and Waterloo schools are closed. Hamilton, Halton, Peel and Niagara schools are open, but bus service in Peel and Niagara have been cancelled because of poor road conditions.
While only a couple of centimetres of additional snow are expected to fall today in Fort Erie, winds of 55 kilometres an hour will gust as high as 85 kilometres an hour, causing dangerous white outs. A snow squall watch remains in effect for Niagara.
Just over the border, there’s a blizzard warning. With winds up to 70 kilometres an hour blowing across Lake Erie, almost a metre of snow could be on the ground by tonight in Buffalo.
Conditions are so bad that New York governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for 14 counties in upstate New York. He’s also ordered the closure of a 100 kilometre stretch of the New York State Thruway from Buffalo all the way to the Pennsylvania border.
To illustrate how cold it is, Nicola Jones soaked a t-shirt and a Christmas sweater. The t-shirt froze solid in five minutes; the sweater took 11.