Prairies: Record-breaking cold for three days in a row
Thursday, February 7, 2019, 8:54 PM - Seasonally speaking, this coldest air of the winter is right on time for the Prairies -- though that's not necessarily much consolation to those dealing with wind chills in the -40s and -50s. Extreme cold warnings remain in effect for almost all of Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as parts of Manitoba, as daytime highs struggle to climb above -25ºC for many this week. There is some hope for milder air on the horizon, but this pattern of cold is going to prove difficult to shift. More on this prolonged deep freeze, and when to expect more snow, below.
- Bitter cold returns, widespread extreme cold warnings in effect
- Some moderation of temperatures expected, but below average cold continues
- Keep on top of active weather by visiting the ALERTS page
FRIGID TEMPERATURES AND EXTREME COLD WARNINGS
The Arctic chill has a firm hold on the Prairie provinces right now, as the infamous polar vortex dips down over Hudson Bay and opens the flood gates for bitter cold to flow down east of the Rockies. Climatologically speaking, we do expect the coldest air of the winter to spread over Canada during late January and early February, but this recent bout of cold has been particularly bitter, with long-standing low temperature records dropping across Alberta and Saskatchewan this week.
"Wind chills between -40 and -50 will continue [Wednesday]. The cold arctic air is expected to remain through Thursday morning before some moderation Thursday afternoon," said Environment Canada in their updated warning.
The worst of the bitter air is slated to ease somewhat on Thursday afternoon, as the centre of the current Arctic ridge drifts east, but dangerous cold will hang on at through at least Thursday morning.
Thankfully, winds are not especially strong at the moment, under the high pressure, but with temperatures so cold it doesn't take much of a breeze to generate dangerous wind chill.
WHEN WILL IT WARM UP?
If you're eager to give your extra warm layers a break, you're in for a bit of a wait. With most long-range guidance suggesting recurring shots of polar air will continue to drift south from the Arctic, forecasters expect the current patter of high pressure ridging over the Prairies to continue.
"Arctic high pressure dominates, with frigid weather continuing through the weekend and next week," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham. "The extreme cold will relax somewhat, but temperatures are expected to remain colder than seasonal through mid-February and likely beyond."
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