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Extreme cold in GTA causes school bus cancellations, transit issues

Last Updated Jan 21, 2019 at 9:25 am EST

Steam rises as people look out on Lake Ontario in front of the skyline during extreme cold weather in Toronto on Feb. 13, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

It was the coldest morning of the winter season so far, and the bone-chilling temperatures created hassles for those heading to school and work on Monday.

The GTA, including Toronto, remains under an extreme cold warning — 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said the windchill was near -35 at one point this morning.

“A period of severely cold wind chills is expected,” Environment Canada said in its extreme cold warning, adding that windchill values of -30 to -38 will continue this morning.

The national weather agency said windchill values will hover around -30 this afternoon as the winds ease.

Although it will be mainly sunny on Monday with a high of -11 C, Taylor said the windchill will be near -21 in the afternoon. The temperature will drop to -18 C this evening with a windchill of -27.

The record low for this date is -25.6 C, which was set in 1970. Taylor doesn’t think the GTA will break the temperature record, but said it is “definitely the coldest windchill we have seen so far.”

Taylor said exposed skin can freeze in as little as 10 minutes.

In Toronto, the city’s extreme cold weather alert continues for Toronto. During the alert, the city activates various services to help get the homeless and other vulnerable residents inside, including more overnight outreach and a warming centre at Metro Hall. The warming centre is open by 7 p.m. the day an alert is issued and stays open until noon the next day.

The bitterly cold weather forced Toronto, as well as York and Durham regions, to cancel school buses for public and Catholic schools.

The TTC said the cold was affecting its equipment, which meant riders encountered delays during their commute. There were also issues on GO trains due to the weather.

Environment Canada said temperatures won’t be as cold on Tuesday as a “milder” air mass moves in.

Taylor said it will be mainly cloudy on Tuesday with a high near -5 C with around 3-5 centimetres of snow overnight.

Meanwhile, salt trucks and plows were out again in Toronto on Monday to clear away the blowing snow from the roadways. Click here to see the progress in your area in real-time.