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St. Paul: Extreme cold weather warning in effect

Much of Alberta is expected to remain under an extreme cold weather warning for a portion of the week, with temperatures dipping to the -40C range.
Col Web

ST. PAUL - Much of Alberta is expected to remain under an extreme cold weather warning for a portion of the week, with temperatures dipping to the -40C range.

"A multi-day episode of very cold wind chills continues," according to the Environment Canada weather alert that was released. "Extreme wind chill values near minus 40 will occur today (Monday) and Tuesday. Frigid temperatures are expected to persist over Alberta throughout the week."

The alert reminds Albertans that extreme cold puts everyone at risk, and people should watch for cold related symptoms such as "shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes."

The alert also reminds people to take extra care with pets and animals who spend time outdoors. Outdoor workers should also take regularly scheduled breaks to warm up from time to time.

When asked if the Town of St. Paul has anything in place for people to find shelter in the extreme cold, Mayor Maureen Miller noted that "Unfortunately at this time, especially in these harsh conditions, the town does not have a suitable option. Homelessness on a larger scale for a municipality of our size and limited tax base will require multiple levels of government to tackle."

St. Paul RCMP Sgt. David Graham says there isn't anything specific in place to deal with individuals who may be out in the cold, but "We would generally deal with these on a case by case basis, where if we found someone with no place to go stuck in the cold we would assist in finding somewhere they could stay."

He adds, "Options in St. Paul are limited, so we would generally make some calls to friends and family to see if a person could go there for the night or in some cases try and get our Victim Services involved to see if they are able to assist."

St. Paul Education Regional Division has been attempting to communicate its cold weather policy to parents. Superintdent Glen Brodziak stresses that schools will remain open and learning will occur, even if buses are cancelled.

He adds that the division always reminds parents that they have a final decision to either send their child on the bus, or get them to school. Any exams and missed work will be done at a later date.

Diploma exams are also taking place in schools across the division, and will continue to happen.

"If buses do not run due to inclement weather, we ask that students make every reasonable effort to get to their school," reads a notice sent out by SPERD, regarding dipolma exams." Alternatively, students may go to the nearest St. Paul Education High School."

The division has implemented a new app that can be downloaded by parents to be notified about bus cancellations, called Alertus. But drivers also contact parents. The division's policy is to cancel all busing, including in-town busing, when the windchill dips below -40C. According to the Weather netword, the windchill is supposed to bring the temperatures below -40C for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

According to the Saddle Lake Cree Nation official Facebook page, which is run by the tribal administration, band offices and schools have been closed for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the extreme cold.

With files from Rushanthi Kesunathan