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B.C.'s cold weather leads to nearly 2 dozen temperature records being broken on Boxing Day

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With most of B.C. under extreme cold and Arctic outflow weather warnings, Environment Canada says its preliminary data for Boxing Day shows nearly two dozen temperature records were broken.

Warnings have been in place for multiple days as some B.C. regions are dealing with "a bitterly cold airmass," while others are feeling the impacts of an Arctic ridge of high pressure. Wind chill of at least -40 C is expected Monday morning in northern and central B.C., while in Metro Vancouver it could feel as cold as -21 C. 

Temperatures were also frigid on Sunday, leading to 21 minimum temperature records breaking in the province.

Many of the records are decades old and one was set nearly 90 years ago. Prince George saw its coldest Dec. 26 ever on Sunday, dipping to -40.7 C. The previous record of -40 C was set in 1933.

Other temperature records broken in B.C. according to Environment Canada's preliminary data include:

  • Abbotsford area – new record of -12.4, old record of -11.9 set in 2008
  • Agassiz area – new record of -14.2, old record of -11.1 set in 1937
  • Bella Bella area – new record of -15.2, old record of -5.7 set in 2012
  • Bella Coola area – new record of -18.9, old record of -17.2 set in 1937
  • Burns Lake area – new record of -39, old record of -37.6 set in 1996
  • Esquimalt area – new record of -8.7, old record of -5.4 set in 1996
  • Estevan Point area – new record of -6, old record of -4.5 set in 1996
  • Fort Nelson area – new record of -40.6, old record of -40 set in 1961
  • Gibsons area – new record of -8, old record of -6 set in 1996
  • Gonzales point area – new record of -8.7, old record of -5.4 set in 1996
  • Hope area – new record of -15.7, old record of -13.9 set in 1971
  • Malahat area – new record of -11.1, old record of -8.5 set in 1996
  • Port Alberni area – new record of -13.3, old record of -10 set in 1971
  • Port Hardy area – new record of -11.5, old record of -7.8 set in 1971
  • Prince Rupert area – new record of -17.8, old record of -15.6 set in 1968
  • Sandspit area – new record of -6.8, old record of -6.1 set in 1955
  • Sechelt area – new record of -8, old record of -5 set in 1971
  • Smithers area – new record of -36.5, old record of -36.1 set in 1971
  • Summerland area – new record of -19.5, old record of -17.8 set in 1948
  • Victoria Harbour area – new record of -8.7, old record of -5.4 set in 1996

The cold weather is a dramatic shift from what the province saw at the start of the month, when 20 temperature records were broken for warm weather. 

As of Monday morning, 24 regions in B.C. were under extreme cold warnings while 13 others were under Arctic outflow warnings. 

Environment Canada says it issues extreme cold warnings "when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia."

"Extreme cold puts everyone at risk," some of the warnings said. "Cover up. Frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill." 

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