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Calgary under extreme cold warning, wind chills close to -40

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An extreme cold warning is in place for the city of Calgary prompting major concerns for residents as well as many schools that will need to fall back on inclement weather policies to protect student safety.

As of Thursday morning, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) had the entire province of Alberta under an extreme cold warning.

In Calgary, temperatures are expected to remain around -30 C, but wind chills will likely make that feel a lot more like -40.

The agency says temperatures are forecasted to fall even further in the coming days: -40 C in the morning with wind chills reaching near -50.

"Slight improvement in the temperature is forecast for early next week, but certainty is low and below normal temperatures are likely to continue," ECCC wrote in its online advisory.

All of the schools in both the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Catholic School Division are open on Thursday, but administrators say the main concern is transportation.

Staff at the Southland Transit depot were out early in the morning to start all the buses that will be in use Thursday.

Workers at the facility go down the line, starting each of the buses, and if they run into any problems, a maintenance crew is on hand to help out.

School boards also advise families to properly prepare students for the cold weather.

That includes ensuring they are properly dressed for the weather, aren't left waiting too long at bus stops and know what to do if the bus doesn't pick them up.

Once students are safe at school, many school boards implement a policy to keep children inside during recess time when temperatures are below -20 with wind chill.

HOW COLD IS IT AND HOW COLD WILL IT GET?

According to CTV Calgary weather specialist Jodi Hughes, it was -29 C at about 6:30 a.m., but the wind chill was making it feel a lot more like -44.

"This is considered a 'very high risk' wind chill value from ECCC," she said.

"Exposed skin can freeze in five to 10 minutes."

Hughes says the daytime high won't be much of an improvement – only -27 C – and the low will be -33 C.

Friday is expected to be the coldest day of the week, she says.

"(There will be) a high of -31 C and a low of -38 C. Wind chill values tomorrow will get reach -50 in portions of central and southern Alberta."

Further details about the ECCC extreme cold warning can be found online.

(With files from Mason DePatie)

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