Extreme cold warning continues, but it's almost over

Winter's miserable grip on Fort St. John is expected to loosen by this weekend, if you can believe it.

The city hasn't seen temperatures above minus 20 since Jan. 6, when a ridge of bitterly cold arctic air swooped down and clenched the city with an extreme cold that's made the last 10 days feel three times as long.

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Surprisingly, the city hasn't set any new temperature records during this cold snap, though Environment Canada says we haven't seen one like this in years.

"When we get a cold Arctic outbreak in January, that's the coldest time of the year," said meteorologist Doug Lundquist. "It's almost over."

The coldest it's gotten so far this month was a low of -34.5 C on Monday, Jan. 13. The last time it was warmer than minus 20 was when the mercury peaked at a comparably balmy -19.4 C on Monday, Jan. 6.

By Sunday, we'll have what Lundquist called a "Klondike chinook", where the air pressure will drop on the Alberta and B.C. Peace side of the Rockies to allow warmer winds to move in from the west.

Sunday's high is supposed to reach -18 C with a mix of sun and cloud. Monday is supposed to be even warmer — a high of -7 C with a mix of sun and cloud.

That's well above average and should last until at least the middle of the week, Lundquist said.

It's too soon to tell if the warmer weather will stick around longer than that, but, Lundquist said, "I don't see the Arctic air returning."

Average highs for January are -10 C, with average lows of -18 C.

Exreme Cold Weather Warning: 

A multi-day episode of very cold wind chills continues.

Bitterly cold arctic air will continue to remain entrenched over the area this morning.

Occasional winds to 15 km/h will give wind chill values near minus 40.

Extreme cold puts everyone at risk.

Watch for cold related symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes.

Extreme cold warnings are issued when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to BCstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #BCStorm.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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