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These Canadians will wake up Christmas Day to -50 windchill

Erin Wenckstern

Saturday, December 23, 2017, 3:23 PM - Extreme cold warnings are in effect across parts of Western Canada, with some Canadians in line to experience the coldest Christmas in decades.

The warnings extend across the north from Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta to areas along the coast of Hudson Bay.

"A frigid Arctic airmass is becoming entrenched in northern Manitoba today in the wake of an Arctic cold front sliding southward through the province," says Environment Canada. "Wind chill values in the -46 to -52 range can be expected this weekend in areas under the extreme cold warning."

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And acting much like relatives who overstay their welcome, the cold will get comfortable over Canada and be with us to ring in the New Year. As a result, extreme cold warnings may be extended into southern and central Manitoba over the weekend as the frigid airmass marches southward, according to Environment Canada. 

The set up

The days leading up to Christmas will feature many changes near the North Pole, ultimately leading to our temperature decline. But strangely enough, it begins with a large surge of milder air past the Arctic circle.

As this mild air meets the Polar vortex -- an omnipresent feature that contains the coldest air on our planet -- it will split it up and force a fragment of it on a path to southern Canada.

Watch Below: What is the Polar vortex?

Christmas Day

By Christmas Day, the air mass flowing southward will have originated in Siberia, crossed the North Pole and settled in over the eastern Prairies, making a cross-polar trek and resulting in a truly frigid day outdoors. In fact, the air will be so cold that the North Pole will be balmy in comparison to parts of Canada -- 10°C warmer than most of the Prairies, northern Ontario and Quebec, and over 20°C warmer than the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Imaged below are a few forecast high temperatures on Christmas Day. For parts of Manitoba and northern Ontario, this could very well be one of the coldest Christmases experienced in decades! 

While southern Ontario, Quebec and southern Atlantic Canada are off the hook on Christmas Day, the cold air has a bold agenda and presses eastward on Boxing Day and beyond, leading to a very wintry end to 2017.

I'll leave you with a quote from The Weather Network's meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham to really set the tone: "The next three weeks will heavily influence how this winter is remembered!"

Stay safe and warm this holiday season, Canada.

Watch below: Firefighter rescues frozen Golden Retriever, will attempt to adopt him

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