An extreme cold weather alert has been declared in Toronto as temperatures dipped to -16 C on Thursday morning.

According to Environment Canada, outdoor temperatures feel closer to -25 C with the wind chill.

Toronto’s medical officer of health declared the cold weather alert in a statement, warning that exposure to the elements during a cold snap can cause health problems including hypothermia, frostnip and frostbite.

During an extreme cold weather alert, residents are encouraged to check on vulnerable family, friends and neighbours “to ensure they are not experiencing any difficulties related to the weather.”

The alert also triggers additional services for homeless people, including increased outreach and TTC tokens for people to get to shelter.

During January and February, two extreme cold weather drop-ins are open 24-hours a day.

During extreme cold, members of the public are encouraged to:

  • Dress in layers, making sure your outer layer is windproof, and cover exposed skin
  • Wear a hat, warm mittens or gloves, and warm boots
  • Stay dry
  • Choose wool or synthetic fabrics for clothes instead of cotton, because cotton stops keeping you warm once it gets wet
  • People who normally spend long periods outside should seek shelter
  • Avoid alcohol as it increases blood flow
  • Consider rescheduling outdoor activities, or limiting time outdoors
  • Keep home heating at 21 C or warmer if babies or elderly people are present