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After a fairly "easy" winter across much of Ontario, it's a term that may throw some people off guard. Especially for the start of April. But brace for it...The Polar Vortex is expected to impact Ontario later this week, causing temperatures to drop to potential record lows.

Brace for a cold shot in Ontario before spring settles in

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Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, March 29, 2016, 10:02 AM - After a fairly "easy" winter across much of Ontario, it's a term that may throw some people off guard. Especially for the start of April.

But brace for it...The Polar Vortex is expected to impact Ontario later this week, causing temperatures to drop to potential record lows. Welcome to the spring roller coaster (and no this isn't an April Fool's joke).

"The final days of March will feel more like April with above seasonal temperatures, but by the time we get into April, it will feel more like March, even February," warns Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham

The next system tracks into the Great Lakes Wednesday and Thursday and will bring a swath of moderate snow and wind for parts of northern Ontario, especially east of Lake Superior. Conditions will remain windy, wet and warm for southern Ontario with the potential for more thunderstorms.

Thunderstorms rumbled through the region through the early morning hours Monday bringing frequent lightning strikes, small sized hail and heavy downpours.

Sounds more typical of spring right? Expect that to change as the weekend approaches.

According to Gillham, there will be an "impressive shot" of below seasonal temperatures for early April from the Prairies through to Atlantic Canada with lake effect snow likely around the Great Lakes.

"A clipper system will track through the Great Lakes on Saturday with a burst of snow and strong winds as Arctic air arrives," Gillham says. "This will be followed by impressive lake effect snow squalls for April."

Another clipper is expected to track through the southern Great Lakes early next week with the potential for accumulating snow for parts of southern Ontario Monday night.

Interesting note: The warmth surges north with record high temperatures expected in places like Whitehorse this week.

"And that will clobber anything Toronto sees in terms of warmth," adds The Weather Network's Chris Murphy.

In fact, the Polar Vortex could bring record low temperatures to the city this weekend.

POLAR VORTEX REFRESHER

Simply, the Polar Vortex is a large area of cold air and low pressure that sprawls across Earth's poles. The scary-sounding "vortex" monicker comes from the fact that it's cyclonic: It rotates (counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere) in a flow of air that keeps cooler air near the poles. It's also fairly high up in the lower/middle stratosphere, but its effects stretch down into the upper part of the troposphere, the first layer of Earth's atmosphere where our planet's weather takes place.

Read more from Daniel Martins here.

THERE'S HOPE FOR MAY 

"The cold backs off somewhat after two days of well below seasonal temperatures this coming Sunday and Monday, but it looks like another reinforcing shot later in the week for the Great Lakes," Gillham says. "Overall, early April will be below seasonal from the eastern Great Lakes to the Maritimes, but a warmer pattern returns to the Great Lakes by mid-April and then dominates through May."

Keep in mind however, that upcoming warming trend doesn't rule out some brief interruptions.

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