Coldest air in a year floods into southern Ontario
Friday, January 11, 2019, 11:57 AM - Ontario is staring down the coldest air of the season so far as we head into the weekend, as Arctic high pressure sinks down from the north and squashes the lake-effect snow machine. Clearer skies and brisk cold will mark the early part of the weekend, while a major storm skims just to the south for Sunday. We take a look at the bitter wind chills -- and whether or not the cold is here to stay this time -- below.
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- Coldest weather of the season grips the province, as wind chills dip into the -20s and 30s
- A few more rounds of milder air possible before winter pattern locks in
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Thursday's daytime highs felt colder than -10 for most of southern Ontario, thanks to the wind chill, and while Friday won't feel quite so chilly thanks to lighter winds, there'll be no warm up into the weekend as a developing northwest flow holds steady. That'll help to open the "gateway" to the colder air sitting in the north.
"The coldest air of the season will be arriving for some, bringing with it wind chills in the -30s for eastern and central Ontario through the overnights this weekend," says Weather Network meteorologist Kelly Sonnenburg.
High pressure from the Arctic will pass over the province this weekend, ushering in the cold air, but also keeping a major winter storm south of the border. While winter storm watches and warnings are widespread from the Mississippi Valley through the Appalachians, on this side of lakes Erie and Ontario, we'll see only a shot at a glancing blow, with some flurries possible over extreme southwestern Ontario on Saturday night.
"This cold for most isn't expected to be record breaking as technically we are coming up to the coldest climate normals of the year," Sonnenburg says. "But as for this season, it's been a while since we've felt temperatures this cold so it will be a shock to the system."
An extreme cold weather alert was issued for the city of Toronto early Thursday, with temperatures dipping to the minus teens for the city through the pre-dawn hours on Friday. The alert was terminated at noon on Friday.
Temperatures recover to near seasonal values by early next week, but the battle between mild Pacific air and arctic air remains.
"During next week, mild Pacific air will once again spread across western and central Canada, however, at the same time, arctic air will build around Hudson Bay and that will attempt to sink south into our region," says Dr. Doug Gillham, another meteorologist at The Weather Network. "There is still some uncertainty as to which air mass will win out."
And while there will likely be a day or two of somewhat milder weather, the pattern is currently in the midst of a transition into a more consistently cold pattern, which is expected to lock into place for the end of January and continue for February and into March.
"We still expect an extended period of frigid weather this winter," warns Gillham.