And so, it begins. Winter is officially here, with the City of Toronto issuing an Extreme Cold Weather Alert.
According to Environment Canada, Monday’s day-time high will only reach minus-11 but it will feel more like minus-25 when you factor in the wind chill.
The alert has triggered the opening of warming centres for homeless people, meaning they can access to two 24-hour drop-ins, additional shelter beds, TTC tokens for people to get to shelter, increased street outreach, and a direction to shelters to relax any service restrictions in place.
The city is advising the public to take the following precautions:
- Dress in layers, making sure your outer layer is windproof, and cover exposed skin.
- Wear a hat, warm mittens or gloves, and warm boots.
- Stay dry. Your risk of hypothermia is much greater if you are wet.
- Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for your clothes instead of cotton, because cotton stops keeping you warm once it gets wet.
- Seek shelter if you normally spend long periods outside. Depending on the wind chill, exposed skin can freeze in minutes.
- Avoid alcohol as it increases blood flow. You may feel warm even though you are losing body heat.
- Consider rescheduling outdoor activities, or limiting time outdoors, especially if it’s windy.
- Heat your home to at least 21ºC if babies or elderly people are present.
If you see anyone who needs assistance, you can call 311.
**With files from Jamie Tawil