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Across N.L., temperatures have dropped and electricity demands have risen

The view from one housebound reporter's windows in St. John's. (Zach Goudie/CBC - image credit)
The view from one housebound reporter's windows in St. John's. (Zach Goudie/CBC - image credit)
The view from one housebound reporter's windows in St. John's.
The view from one housebound reporter's windows in St. John's.

Temperatures have dropped dramatically across most of Newfoundland and Labrador on Wednesday. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

A brutal cold snap across Newfoundland and Labrador is putting pressure on the province's electrical grid — but N.L. Hydro says the system is working as planned.

The grid peaked at 1,730 megawatts Wednesday morning for the island, but Jill Pitcher, the Crown utility's senior communications officer, said there's lots of backup power.

"We have plenty of reserve power — more than 500 MW," Pitcher told CBC News in a statement.

"We don't anticipate any alerts at this time. We continue to monitor the forecast and our system."

As of 11 a.m., temperatures around the province were far below freezing, with St. John's hovering around –15 C and a wind chill of –28. Central Newfoundland is experiencing similar temperatures, while Newfoundland's west coast is slightly warmer with Corner Brook at –13 C with a wind chill of –23.

WATCH | Skates and shades, this woman is embracing the cold:

The weather is much, much colder farther north.

St. Anthony hit –21 C with a wind chill of –35 and most of Labrador West and northern Labrador are colder.

Makkovic has recorded –25 C with a wind chill of –39, Happy Valley-Goose Bay is the same and western Labrador, notably Wabush, has dropped to –25 C with a –36 wind chill.

With the wind chill, it could feel as cold as –40 C on some parts of Newfoundland today. Bundle up — in layers!
With the wind chill, it could feel as cold as –40 C on some parts of Newfoundland today. Bundle up — in layers!

These folks in Corner Brook are bundled up to protect against the frigid temperatures on Newfoundland's west coast. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

"The system has been performing well this winter. Our previous seasonal peak was several weekends ago during a multi-day cold snap where we peaked at 1,675 MW on the island interconnected system with 500 MW of reserve available and while continuing to supply Nova Scotia during the peak," said Pitcher.

"For comparison, our province experienced a polar vortex in February of last year. We hit a peak of 1,780 MW at that time but were also able to maintain a comparable level of reserves."

For some the cold temperatures are a reason to hibernate indoors but others enjoy the cold — and some, like Hafeeza Pathan, who lives in Labrador West after moving from Mumbai, even love it.

"It's been quite a journey, from plus 35 to minus 35. I never expected myself to love the cold so much but here I am, four and a half years in and still going strong," she said.

"I only get depressed when the summer starts coming. I'm different and I know a lot of people listening to me would be like, 'Oh, she's crazy.'"

Pathan said she finds joy in the snow and the cold.

"If you can't do anything about it, just enjoy it, just embrace it," she said.

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