December 29, 2017 / 7:15 PM / a year ago

Canada scales back New Year's Eve party due to extreme cold

People warm themselves next to the Centennial Flame during frigid weather on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Bitterly cold conditions have prompted authorities across Canada to issue extreme weather alerts, including one in the nation’s capital Ottawa, where the government scaled back a New Year’s Eve party and moved a hockey tournament indoors.

The Canadian government on Friday canceled a New Year’s Eve outdoor concert on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to mark the end of celebrations of the country’s 150th birthday, citing a forecast for bitter-cold temperatures.

It said it would go ahead with a midnight fireworks and laser show, but urged attendees to dress warmly.

Canada has been shivering under frigid temperatures since before Christmas, prompting a string of weather warnings from British Columbia in the west to Quebec in the east.

In Ottawa, temperatures hovered around -17 Celsius (+1 Fahrenheit) on Friday. Environment Canada meteorologists said in an alert that winds would make it feel closer to -35C overnight.

“Latest indications continue to show that another shot of fresh and frigid Arctic air will return extreme cold to the region in time for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day,” the alert said.

Canadian Heritage spokeswoman Natalie Huneault said in a statement that a youth hockey tournament scheduled to take place on the outdoor rink on Parliament Hill had been moved indoors while musical entertainers and evening DJs had been canceled.

Canada is suffering from the same blast of Arctic air that has sent most of the U.S. Northeast and Midwest into a record-breaking deep freeze, which forecasters expect to last into the new year.

Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Jim Finkle and Tom Brown

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