Winnipeg records coldest December day in 80 years

A pedestrian walks through steam on Jefferson Ave in Winnipeg, close to where a water main had...

A pedestrian walks through steam on Jefferson Ave in Winnipeg, close to where a water main had broken on December 31, 2013. (QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:10 PM ET

WINNIPEG -- The year 2013 drew to a close with the delivery of the coldest December day the city has seen in 80 years, with temperatures plunging early in the day to -37.9 C.

It hasn't been this cool in Winnipeg in December since 1933, said Dale Marciski, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

There has been a colder New Year's Eve on record, with the mercury dropping to -38.3 C on Dec. 31, 1884. But that is of little solace to most Winnipeggers enduring a cold that, with the wind chill factored in, feels like -48 C.

The brutal weather capped a fairly horrendous month, weather-wise, for the city and most of Manitoba.

With an average temperature of only -20.9 C, it's the second-coldest December Winnipeggers have seen in 120 years, and sixth-coldest overall.

One person died from exposure to the conditions during the month and shelters are reporting they're packed to capacity as the homeless try to stay warm.

Meanwhile, United Airlines has cancelled flights to and from Winnipeg in the past two days, telling passengers the conditions are too cold for their planes to safely fly.

CAA Manitoba broke its mark for service calls in a month, with spokeswoman Liz Peters telling QMI Agency on Tuesday that the auto club expected to reach 20,300 before the calendar turned to 2014.

If all that wasn't enough bad news for Winnipeggers, Marciski said the forecast for January doesn't look very encouraging.

"I know this isn't what people want to hear, but other than for a brief warmup on Friday, there's no break in the cold until at least the middle of next week," Marciski said


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