A deep cold snap sweeping over the Prairies will only get worse as we head toward the new year. Temperatures for the foreseeable future will remain frozen in the double-digits, below zero range for the Prairie provinces, with colder wind chills making even a quick venture outdoors a dangerous and health-threatening situation. More on the deep freeze and how long it lasts, below.
Visit our Complete Guide to Winter 2022 for an in-depth look at the Winter Forecast, tips to plan for it, and much more!
THURSDAY INTO FRIDAY: A BLANKET OF SNOW PUSHES ACROSS THE PRAIRIES
A low-pressure system hiking over the Rockies is bringing a widespread dose of snow to the Prairies over the next couple of days.
After spreading snow over Alberta, as the low emerged over the Rocky Mountains, the system pushed into Saskatchewan during the day on Thursday, destined for northern Manitoba by Friday.
The Rockies will see the heaviest snowfall from this system, with 20-30+ cm falling at the highest peaks and lower totals with declining elevation. Lower elevations south of the Yellowhead will see little more than a dusting of accumulation through Friday, but Edmonton could get about 5 cm from the system, with totals up to 10 cm farther north.
DEEP FREEZE LOCKS IN
We’re also staring down a serious chill on the Prairies, as a lobe of the Polar Vortex swoops down from the Arctic, allowing some of the world’s most frigid air to spill over the three provinces.
Temperatures will fall to brutally cold levels through the weekend. This Christmas will be the perfect day to stay indoors and cozy up with as many blankets and warm memories as possible. Saturday’s high temperatures will struggle to climb out of the -20s across most of the Prairies.
The high in Calgary will reach a paltry -22°C, with a wind chill dipping as low as -27. It’ll be colder over in Prince Albert, where a high of -25°C will feel warm compared to a feels-like value of -31.
In fact, Edmonton could experience its coldest Christmas Day on record. The all-time coldest high temperature on December 25 in Edmonton was -27.8°C back in 1971. The city will come very close to tying, if not breaking, this low-maximum temperature record on the big day this Saturday.
It doesn’t end there. Temperatures will keep on falling through early next week. Highs will push the -30°C mark for the northern Prairies by next Tuesday, with wind chill values dipping well into the -30s.
Extreme cold puts everyone at risk. This is a dangerous cold snap, even for folks acclimated to extreme winter weather. Bitterly cold temperatures paired with even colder wind chill values will make it unsafe to spend much time outdoors without the proper protection and knowledge.
Remain mindful of the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. With wind chill values dipping into the -30s, it can take as little as 10 minutes for exposed skin to freeze in this Arctic airmass, and hypothermia can set in not long after.
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest on the extreme cold gripping the Prairies.