Time to grab your warmest hats, coats and mitts

New Brunswick residents are digging into the closet to find their warmest coat, hat and mittens as temperatures drop dramatically on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3 and 4.

Environment Canada forecasts wind chill values will hit close to minus-45 Celsius overnight between Friday and Saturday.

Meteorologist Jill Maepea said temperatures would begin dropping Friday morning, reaching lows of minus-32 to 33 overnight into Saturday.

She said the quick drop in temperatures would occur as an arctic air mass combines with strong northwest winds to deliver bitterly cold conditions.

Environment Canada said the windchill values of minus 35 to minus 45 would persist into Saturday morning before beginning to moderate Saturday afternoon as winds subside.

Extreme cold puts everyone at risk. Maepea said people and animals could suffer from extended exposure to the frigid temperatures and wind chill.

Frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill.

Environment Canada issues extreme cold warnings when temperatures or wind chill create an elevated risk to health, such as frostbite and hypothermia.

While the brief cold snap will deliver some of the most frigid temperatures in recent years, Maepea said it’s unlikely to reach record levels in the Woodstock and Carleton County region.

She said the coldest temperature on record for the region is 43.9 C, recorded in 1915. That’s without factoring in windchill.

Maepea said the cold snap would probably hit New Brunswick residents hard, coming on the heels of a relatively mild winter. She said December temperatures were above average, and January was “much” above normal.

On the bright side, Maepea added, the cold snap would be of short duration as southerly winds replace the bitter northwest winds on Saturday.

She said the forecast for Sunday into next week predicts a return to near-seasonable temperatures.

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun