Current Conditions and Immediate Outlook
As of 4:50 AM MST, Banff National Park is grappling with a staggering -35°C temperature, prompting an Extreme Cold Warning from the Weather Desk. Sski resorts such as Sunshine Village and Lake Louise have either temporarily shut down due to the hazardous weather conditions or as Lake Louise is trying very limited conditions with lift tickets at 50% off.
The day is forecasted to be mainly sunny, yet the wind chill will plummet to -47°C in the morning and -38°C in the afternoon, making frostbite a real and immediate danger.
Tonight’s Forecast and Weekend Outlook
The frigid conditions are set to continue into the night, with temperatures dropping to a bone-chilling -40°C. Wind chill values will hover around -38°C in the evening and plummet to an even more dangerous -51°C overnight, heightening the risk of frostbite within minutes of exposure.
The weekend isn’t offering much reprieve. Saturday is expected to be mainly sunny with a high of -28°C and wind chills reaching -51°C in the morning and -37°C in the afternoon. The night will see temperatures again falling to -40°C. Sunday promises sunny skies but remains relentlessly cold with a high of -25°C and a low of -35°C at night.
Health Risks and Safety Measures
This extreme cold puts everyone at risk, particularly young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, outdoor workers, and those without adequate shelter. Symptoms of cold exposure, including shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain, numbness, and color changes in fingers and toes, should be monitored closely.
Residents and visitors are strongly advised to dress in warm layers that can be removed if needed, with the outermost layer being wind-resistant. Covering up is crucial as frostbite can occur within minutes on exposed skin. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets as well. Regular indoor breaks are essential for those working outdoors.
While these are currently some of the harshest conditions Banff has seen, there is a slight warming trend expected early next week. However, until then, extreme caution is advised for all residents and visitors in Banff National Park and the surrounding areas. Stay updated with the latest forecasts and advisories, and prioritize safety in these severe winter conditions.