Calgary freezes under Arctic air mass before Christmas

Calgary freezes under Arctic air mass before Christmas

A mass of freezing air is making its way through Calgary, forcing Environment Canada to issue an extreme cold warning for most of the province.

Calgary cold weather

Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning for Calgary on Monday with expected wind chill values making it feel like –40 C overnight.

Forecasters say temperatures in Calgary won’t get higher than –30 C on Tuesday, with wind chill values making it feel more like –43 C.

The cold is expected to last through most of the workweek. Meteorologist Terri Lang, with Environment Canada, says a surge of warm air will arrive with the Christmas holiday weekend.

“Looks like Santa is coming and bringing a present of warmer temperatures,” she said, adding the mild weather looks to last at least until the new year.

On the website, the Calgary International Airport listed about 20 delays and cancellations of flights that were scheduled to arrive, and dozens of delayed arrivals. There were about eight cancelled outgoing flights early Tuesday morning.

According to a statement by the Calgary Airport Authority, the delays are caused by weather, staffing, maintenance and other issues. It’s asking people to plan in advance and arrive early to the airport.

Calgary airport

The deep freeze in Calgary is expected to last through the workweek before a warmup comes during the Christmas holiday weekend.

‘All hands on deck’ 

Monday began with car issues for many in Calgary, and it made for a busy morning for Brandon Klassen, supervisor of automotive services with the Alberta Motor Association.

“We’ve seen an enormous spike in call volume due to the extreme cold conditions,” he said. “We’re receiving more than three times our normal service requests since this morning.”

Most callers have asked for boosts for their car batteries, while others called for tows. There have been many crashes and spin-outs on icy roads.

Callers are waiting more than 30 hours for boosts and around 24 hours for tows, Klassen said.

“It’s all hands on deck for us right now,” he said.

Closures and cancellations

The frigid cold prompted the Calgary Zoo to cancel its outdoor Zoolights holiday display for Monday and Tuesday night, according to a media statement. The zoo is hoping conditions improve for Wednesday night.

Likewise, WinSport at Canada Olympic Park closed its ski hill through Wednesday.

Further west in the Rocky Mountains, Sunshine Village ski resort was operating Monday under a temporary hold, with spokesperson Kendra Scurfield explaining that high altitude temperatures below –30 C aren’t safe for workers or guests.

“If the temperature gets above –30, if it gets to –29, we’ll be able to open the lifts,” she said.

At Norquay, the Mystic lift was closed due to the cold, as was the mountain’s tube park. Around half of the mountain’s runs were open, so the resort was operating at reduced prices.

Jasper Johnson, marketing and communications manager at Norquay, said he’s just happy that the deep freeze is set to break before the Christmas holiday.

“Better we’re seeing the cold weather now than through the holiday period,” he said.

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