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Toronto under extreme cold weather alert; windchill warning ends

Toronto skyline, post ice storm. Photo taken from ferry dock at Ward's Island, Dec. 28, 2013. Diana Pereira/680News

Toronto remains under an extreme cold weather alert but a windchill warning is now over for much of the GTA.

Environment Canada has ended a windchill warning for most of the area including Toronto, Richmond Hill, Markham, Vaughan and the regions of Halton and Peel.

The warning is still in effect for Pickering, Oshawa and southern Durham Region, where the temperature still feels colder than -30 C with the wind. Frostbite can occur in less than 10 minutes at these extreme windchill values, Environment Canada warned.

Conditions are expected to improve early Friday afternoon as temperatures rise and wind becomes light.

There’s a high of just -14 C in the forecast, CityNews weather specialist Fragiskatos said, but it will warm up by the weekend.

Click here for the full forecast.

The Toronto Wildlife Centre (TWC) said the weather killed several bats and threatened dozens more, which were freezing to death when a worker at Newmarket’s Tannery Mall found them on Thursday night.

The big brown bats were huddled in an unprotected area, and by the time TWC staff got the animals to its wildlife hospital, seven had died.

Of the 35 that survived, three are in critical condition, and all need expensive, specialized care.

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Extreme cold weather alert

Extreme cold weather alerts are called when Environment Canada forecasts an overnight temperature of -15 C or lower, issues a windchill warning or predicts extreme weather conditions.

Extra shelter spaces are made available and overnight street outreach is increased in the downtown core to get the homeless in from the cold.

TTC tokens are also offered so that people can use public transit to get to shelters.