New Environment Canada warning system about frigid weather

The federal government is working on a new way to warn Canadians about the need to protect themselves from the dangers of frigid weather.

Currently, Environment Canada issues wind chill warnings when cold temperatures and wind speeds combine to exceed health-threatening thresholds, which differ depending on where you live across the country.

Under a new program being developed with Health Canada, the weather office would issue an Extreme Cold Warning when temperatures plunge to dangerous levels, even if winds are calm.

Blair Morrow, an Environment Canada meteorologist working on the project, says they want to ensure Canadians protect themselves from the cold even when the wind isn't blowing.

Morrow says when the new system is introduced, perhaps as early as next year, Canadians will no longer see separate wind chill warnings in Environment Canada forecasts or on its website.

Wind chill and cold temperatures will be included together in the Extreme Cold Warnings.

Extreme cold is a killer in Canada and is the biggest cause of weather-related deaths.

Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips said about 100 people die of cold-related causes each year.

Many more people suffer from frostbite and less serious frostnip.


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