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Coldest Feb. 23 on record as frigid temperatures return to GTA

The GTA, including Toronto, was gripped by cold temperatures on Monday as “bitterly cold Arctic air” returned to the region.

Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning for the region on Sunday, as it says “a prolonged period of very cold wind chills is expected.”

It was also the coldest Feb. 23 on record with the frigid early-morning temperature breaking a 40-year-old record, Environment Canada said.

680News meteorologist Jill Taylor said as of 5 a.m., the mercury dropped to -20.1 C, surpassing the record low for a Feb. 23 of -19.4 C set in 1972. By 7 a.m., Environment Canada said the temperature fell to -21.6 C.


“Many locations such as Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Kingston, Peterborough and Barrie have remained below freezing since late January,” the national forecaster said in a statement.

“This will set the stage for the first time an entire calendar month has been below freezing in the Kitchener and Toronto Pearson Airport areas since February 1978.”


According to Environment Canada, windy and cold conditions produced wind chills of between -30 to -40 on Monday morning. Exposed skin could freeze in 10 minutes.

The weather agency said wind chill values will “slowly improve somewhat this afternoon as temperatures rise for a few hours.”

However, the Arctic air mass will persist across the region, and the wind chill in many areas will return to the -35 to -30 mark by Monday night in most areas, the agency warns.

Taylor said it will be mainly sunny on Monday with a high of -14 C. She said wind chill values were near -30 this morning and will be near -25 for the afternoon.

Taylor forecasts a low near -18 C, but it will feel like like -29 C with the wind.

Click here for the full weather forecast.

An extreme cold weather alert has been in place in Toronto since Feb. 12, allowing for extra shelter beds and services for the homeless. So far in 2015, Toronto has been under the alert for 30 days.

Click here for more information on cold weather alerts and the services they trigger.

Meanwhile, a warm ride to work for TTC riders on the Yonge subway line turned into a freezing cold walk or wait for a shuttle bus.

The TTC suspended subway service from Union to Bloor stations on Monday after a substation was flooded near King station. Service resumed just before 8:30 a.m.


The unbearably cold temperatures also impacted TTC streetcars and schools outside of Toronto.

The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board cancelled buses and closed its schools in Dufferin County on Monday to the “extreme weather conditions.”


Click here for a full list of school bus cancellations, closures and transit delays.

The TTC replaced the 502 and 503 streetcar routes with buses due to the weather.



Below is an interactive chart of statistics on extreme cold weather alerts in Toronto; data courtesy of City of Toronto. Mobile viewers, click here.