Polar vortex threatening dangerously cold weather for Canada

A woman walks her dog during a blizzard in Montreal, Canada/Getty Images
A woman walks her dog during a blizzard in Montreal, Canada/Getty Images

Chris Scott, chief meteorologist at The Weather Network told Yahoo Canada News there is a big swirl of a polar vortex on its way that is bringing cold temperatures to much of Canada, from Saskatchewan and Manitoba, to Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

“The big story is it’s really winter asserting itself for practically the whole nation,” Scott said. “Winter’s entrenched and we’re going to be dealing with either a lot of cold or some snow in much of the country.”

According to Scott, southern Ontario, particularly around Toronto, will see wind chills at -20 C or even -30 C as we head into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Environment Canada has issued a special weather alert for 10 cm to 15 cm of snow on its way for Toronto tonight and into Friday.

“We’re going to be talking about that type of cold that we really haven’t experience in a couple of years coming back after we get this mess off precipitation over the weekend, and with that we’ve got some more chances of snow,” Scott said.

Despite these particularly cold conditions creeping into southern Ontario, on the west side of the country forecasters are predicting that British Columbia will be the main area spared from these dangerously cold temperatures and storms. Although places like Metro Vancouver saw some significant snowfall this week, no additional snow storms or dips in temperature are forecasted for the area.

“We don’t have any major storms in the forecast between now and Christmas,” Scott said. “B.C. is not going to brutally cold but we are seeing below normal temperatures even towards the coast as we head to the next few days.”

Eastern Ontario and southern Quebec are going to see colder temperatures as well, with a rain, freezing rain and snow mix coming over the weekend.

“We know we’re going to get really cold has we hit Christmas and through the period after that towards New Year’s,” Scott said.

Atlantic Canada will still feel the impact of the polar vortex, but likely not until Boxing Day and beyond. Many of the maritime provinces will see milder temperatures in the next few days, with some rain over the weekend in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and southern New Brunswick.

“A mix of precipitation but more on the warm side versus what we’ve got further back to the west, and that pretty much kills the chances of a white Christmas for places like Halifax,” Scott said.

The Prairies are going to be a bit of a mixed bag for the next week or so, but despite cold temperature there likely won’t be any significant snow.

“It has been cold but the snow that we got earlier, back in November, it all melted when it got warm and now it’s cold but we just haven’t had snow to coat the ground,” Scott said for areas around Edmonton and Regina.

Unless you’re in B.C. it looks like you should be preparing for some cold temperatures and snow coming your way as the polar vortex makes itself known across much of the country.

“You can think of this as Mother Nature putting a choke hold on much of the country from Saskatchewan right east through Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and even parts of Atlantic Canada ,” Scott said.

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