Bitter cold weather grips Western Canada and you can blame the polar vortex
TORONTO -- Much of Western Canada continues to face another day of dangerously cold temperatures thanks to the polar vortex "setting up shop in Canada," according Environment Canada's Dave Phillips.
Residents in some areas of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia are facing bone-chillingly cold temperatures Tuesday as the thermometer dips well below -30 C with wind chill making it feel closer to -40 to -50 C, prompting extreme cold warnings for many cities.
"For most of the winter, the polar vortex was hanging out over in Siberia, just spinning around there and was leaving [Canada] with pretty well Pacific, westerly air," the government agency's senior climatologist explained to CTV News Channel. "A couple of days ago, it came across the North Pole and set up shop here in Canada.
"Believe it or not [the polar vortex] has actually weakened and when it weakens… it spreads out and it has in fact engulfed pretty well all of Western Canada and down to parts of the United States," Phillips said.
Residents in Regina awakened to an extreme cold warning with wind chill making it feel like -43 C with a daytime high of -26 C with a wind chill of -38 C, according to the national weather agency. Saskatoon residents are facing a similar forecast, with the daytime expected to be -27 C with a wind chill feeling more like -38 C.
In Alberta, Edmonton residents will have to deal with a daytime high of -29 C and a wind chill of -34 C while Calgarians face -25 C daytime high with a wind chill of about -33 C. Extreme cold warnings remain in effect for much of the province.
Temperatures in parts of northern and central B.C. will feel only marginally warmer at -40 or -45 C.
The weather agency said the extreme cold warnings are expected to remain at least through Wednesday.
"We have extreme cold warnings out for five provinces, three territories and we are seeing wind chill values that could freeze exposed skin in a matter of a minute or two," Phillips said. "This is a pretty dangerous kind of situation.
"No mistaking it, this is winter at its worst," the climatologist said.
Calling it a "one-week wonder," Phillips said relief from the cold should arrive into the weekend.