The polar vortex which has pushed onto the Prairies has reached its climax, bringing the coldest temperatures of the season so far.
This lobe of Arctic air has enveloped most of Western Canada, as a result, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has issued a bevy of extreme cold warnings across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario.
Tuesday is forecast to be the coldest day yet across the Prairies. Areas like Grand Prairie, Fort McMurray and Edmonton International Airport were all -30°C or colder. Once you factor the wind chills, major municipalities including Calgary, Edmonton and Regina will see temperatures ranging from -28 to -35.
“This latest blast of Arctic air will bottom out,” says Nadine Hinds-Powell, meteorologist at The Weather Network. “High temperatures across southern areas of the Prairies will hover near -20°C, and the mid to upper -20s for northern areas,” she says.
The extremely cold weather makes for hazardous conditions. Frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill. If it's too cold for you to stay outside, it's too cold for your pet to stay outside.
If the cold temperatures weren’t enough, an upslope flow bringing 5-15 cm of snow to western and southern Alberta through Tuesday.
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Temperatures return to seasonal
Most of the Prairies will climb out of the extreme-cold pattern and return to more seasonal temperatures by Wednesday.
“Thanks to incoming milder Pacific flow and a retreat of the Arctic air, temperatures will begin to moderate Wednesday across the Prairies,” says Hinds-Powell. “In fact, Alberta's famous Chinook winds will be the driving force for a drastic warm-up Wednesday.
Parts of Alberta will experience a seesaw swing in temperatures by nearly 30°C. That warmth will spread into Saskatchewan and Manitoba where high temperatures Wednesday and Thursday will be a little more tolerable - in the minus teens.
By Friday the polar vortex will have completed its shift north, bringing relief to the region.
*Be sure to check The Weather Network for the latest updates on the Prairies. *