UPDATE: Environment Canada has extended the Extreme Cold Warning to the North B.C. Peace Region.

GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. — Nearly all of Northern Alberta including the Peace Region is under an Extreme Cold Warning this morning.

Environment Canada says that an Arctic airmass is producing extreme cold conditions over much of Alberta. Temperatures will moderate somewhat today however very cold temperatures are expected once again this evening and overnight.

As of 7:00 a.m. Thursday the temperature in Grande Prairie was -40 degrees, with a windchill factor of -48. In Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, temperatures Thursday morning sat at -34 and -39, while the wind made it feel like -46 and -44 degrees. The forecast is calling for temperatures to return to more seasonal values by the weekend.

Extreme cold warnings are issued when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frostbite and hypothermia. Environment Canada is reminding residents to watch for cold-related symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes. Residents should cover up when venturing outside as frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with windchill. Outdoor workers should take regularly scheduled breaks to warm up.