Extreme cold to bring -40 wind chills to Quebec through Saturday

After coming within 0.3 cm of the snowiest January on record for Montreal, this winter season is delivering exceptional weather statistics. This week is no exception.

This time, it’s brutal cold. Daytime highs and wind chills will be the most dangerous and unusual part of this setup.

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The urban heat island effect, where concrete traps and radiates heat, will likely keep Montreal just above the -30-degree mark through the most severe parts of this cold snap, but the daytime highs will tremendously suffer.

Dangerous wind chills and peak cold arrive Friday and Friday night

Most places in the province will fall into the -40s for wind chills, but a few locations will even briefly dip into the -50s, where frostbite can occur in mere minutes.


If you look at the basic threshold for a severe cold warning, you need a wind chill of at least -38 for the area, something the city hasn't hit since January 6th, 2018.

Take Mont-Sainte-Anne, a ski hill north of Quebec City, which will have a wind chill near -48 early Saturday morning making a difficult and dangerous morning on the slopes.

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Friday will likely feature the coldest daytime highs since January 2004 across southern Quebec, with early Saturday morning having the chilliest low temperatures since 2004. A reasonable forecast is an overnight low of -28°C or -29°C.

The last time Montreal dipped below the -30°C mark, the Montreal Canadiens were reigning Stanley Cup champions. Before that, there are over 60 recordings of temperatures below the -30°C mark in the climate record.


There will be immense temperature variations across Montreal Island, due to open water, wind direction and the aforementioned heat island. Concerns about freezing fog accreting on bridges will continue to be a hazard in the days to come.

The pattern flips as fast as the temperatures plummet with a rebound to near-freezing temps and periods of snow on Sunday.

Check back for the latest forecasts and conditions across Quebec.