Don’t plan on packing away the hats and mitts anytime soon. If this week has been any indication, we’re in it for the long run when it comes to frigid weather.
Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson says we can expect to feel this icy blast into mid-March.
“We’ve heard that term polar vortex again,” Coulson said. “It is somewhat responsible for our recent blast of very cold air. Normally this vortex is spinning up toward the Arctic circle. It’s a fairly tight flow that keeps the coldest air up in the highest latitude but every once in a while the flow can weaken and allow some of that cold air to venture into further southern latitudes and that’s really what’s been happening.”
The Waterloo Region experienced record lows over the weekend, with readings at the airport in Breslau registering minus-34.1 on Monday. This may seem like business as usual for those further north in Ontario, but this area should be seeing lows of around minus-11 overnight, and highs of minus-2 during the day at this time of year. And with the thermometer dropping down to minus-18 this week, plus the wind chill, minus-2 sounds downright balmy.
“We’ve been getting some record breaking cold temperatures. I’m sure this is not news to anybody who’s tried to venture out over the Family Day weekend or trying to start the car this morning,” Coulson said.
He said when he and other meteorologists gave their projections for this winter’s weather, nothing in the modules suggested such deep sub-zero temperatures. He said they expected it might be a bit colder than normal, but certainly not in the minus-30 zone like we saw last weekend.
“[There are] big, big impacts not just in southwestern Ontario in terms of the cold and car batteries dying and things of that nature, but this cold outbreak has been influencing the weather through northeastern Ontario, through a good part of Quebec, southward all the way down into Florida, have been experiencing temperatures much colder than normal,” Coulson explained. “So it’s not only been a chilly brand of air in south-central Ontario but this particular airmass has been influencing the weather across a good part of eastern North America.”
And if we’re hoping he’s got good news about some relief, our hopes should be cast aside. While he expects there to be some milder days here and there, the rest of the winter will be much of the same, and well into March.
“Unfortunately this particular pattern seems to be a fairly stubborn one.”
This weekend it’s expected to warm up a bit, with highs of minus-5 and minus-7, and lows of minus-19 and minus-15, before heading back into a high of minus-15 and a low of minus-20 on Monday.
But there’s always a silver lining, even if it’s hard to feel it through the frostbite. Coulson says we’re not likely to get big snowstorms like we’ve seen happen on the East coast, thanks to the extreme cold temperatures suppressing the precipitation.