Manitoba Museum reports Winnipeg’s temperature as cold as surface of Mars
CBC News Posted: Dec 31, 2013
In terms of astonishing weather facts, it doesn’t get much more impressive than being as cold as a distant planet for a day.
It’s so cold that one airline has decided not to fly in or out of Winnipeg.
ExpressJet, a partner of United Airlines, cancelled some flights Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Passengers are being moved onto flights operated by other airlines and rerouted through other cities. ExpressJet says the unique combination of extreme low temperatures and ice crystals exceed safe operating guidelines for their aircraft.
A spokesperson told CBC News there will be more cancellations as long as the forecast stays the same citing safety as the number one priority.
The aircraft ExpressJet flies are smaller commuter planes that carry 35-70 passengers.
However, other airlines operate the same type of planes and are flying as usual.
Happy for delay
Allison Schmidt, who teaches in Japan, was set to fly to Chicago and then Tokyo but her flight has been delayed for at least a day.
And the Winnipegger who was visiting family for Christmas couldn’t be happier about it.
“I had booked this flight because it was about $300 or $400 cheaper [to leave before the New Year]. I thought it was worth it for just one night,” she said.
“But I was really regretting it this morning, saying goodbye. I felt like the nine days just went by far too quickly.
“So now I get to spend New Year’s with my family [and] January 1st is actually my mom’s birthday.”
The Winnipeg Airports Authority says other than United, the cold weather hasn’t impacted operations at Richardson International.
The Manitoba Museum is reporting Winnipeg’s temperatures on Tuesday were actually as cold as the surface of Mars.
According to the Curiosity Rover, Mars reached a maximum temperature of -29 C on Tuesday, a temperature Winnipeg only reached shortly before 3 p.m.
The deep freeze over much of Southern Manitoba prompted extreme wind chill warnings in the area and most of the north.
In Winnipeg, the daytime high temperature for Tuesday was only expected to reach –31 C, but the windchill made it feel more like –40 to –50. That means exposed skin can freeze in less than five minutes.
On Monday, it got as warm as –28 C.
In the northern half of the province, in places like Thompson, Nelson House, Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids and Churchill, the wind chills on Tuesday made it feel like –48 to –53.
The entire province was under an extreme wind chill warning on Monday, but it was later lifted in the central portion of Manitoba as well as the southwest and southeast corners.
Some outdoor New Year’s Eve activities cancelled
While many of the outdoor New Year’s Eve activities planned at The Forks will go on as planned tonight, at least one has been cancelled.
“The only thing we’ve had to cancel is the horse-drawn wagon rides, scheduled from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. It’s just too cold for that,” said Clare MacKay of The Forks. “Everything else we’ve been able to proceed with, and we have a lot of stuff that happens inside.”
The Forks is hosting crafts for kids, a number of bands and fireworks at 10 p.m. Festivities begin at 5 p.m.
Newcomer not dissuaded by cold
A 16-year-old girl from Nigeria hasn’t been dissuaded by Winnipeg’s other-worldly cold. Lynda Okeke-Okoli arrived in Winnipeg just 48 hours ago to attend high school here.
It wasn’t exactly a warm welcome for the teen, with temperatures hovering below -30 C.
“I was just like, ‘God help me!’ I said, ‘God, please help me. I don’t know how I’m going to handle this!’” she said.
She said even advice from her dad hadn’t prepared her for the weather. Despite that, plans to stick out in Winnipeg.
Cold, but not the coldest
It’s cold but not enough for a record.
The historical mark for this day in history is a rattling –37.8 C, set in 1967.
Environment Canada meteorologist Dale Marciski said the coldest December on record for Winnipeg was set in 1879, with an average temperature of –26 C.
This December’s average temperature so far is close to –21 C. That is only about the fifth coldest ever.
The three coldest Decembers for Winnipeg are:
- 1879: –26.0 C
- 1872: –22.6 C
- 2000: –22.0 C
- 1876: –21.8
- 1893: –21.4
Finding the homeless
A downtown organization is trying to find those Winnipeggers who have no place to go, and get them out of the frigid cold.