Deep chill grips Canada, but polar vortex 'going home for Christmas'
The brutal winter weather continues to affect much of Canada but it’s not all doom and gloom.
“There’s some good news,” Environment Canada’s senior climatologist Dave Phillips told CTV News Channel on Saturday. “The polar vortex that has been gripping this country for two weeks in the west and this week in the east, […] is going home for Christmas.”
But Canada hasn’t seen the last of the deep freeze yet. Saturday has been another cold day for many Canadians.
“There’s a lot of misery out there,” Phillips said. “I don’t think that there’s any province that is sitting back and not feeling the effects of this wintery kind of weather.”
Environment Canada has issued extreme cold weather warnings for much of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick.
“We’re seeing on the prairies wind chills that could freeze flesh in five or 10 minutes,” said Phillips.
New Brunswick is being hit with the coldest weather in decades for this time of year.
With the wind chill temperatures dipping below -30 C this weekend, St. John’s Harbour was engulfed in sea smoke, a rare phenomenon which only forms when very cold air moves over warmer water.
Parts of B.C., Quebec, and northern Ontario also have extreme cold warnings in place.
Snowfall warnings are in place in southern Ontario with forecasts of 15 to 20 cm of snow expected to fall this weekend.
Between five and 10 cm of snow is expected to hit the Toronto area, and the snow could change to freezing rain as temperatures rise to just above freezing.
A snow plow clears a road in the Gerrard Street and Carlaw Avenue area on Saturday, after heavy snowfall overnight. pic.twitter.com/ecfP2IIJz2— CTV Toronto (@CTVToronto) December 17, 2016
Toronto Street winter,street,snow,500px,street photography,a7,Sony pic.twitter.com/El9xlNtIPk— Interespacial (@Interespacial) December 17, 2016
On schedule for a white Christmas! ig: nnvv__
There is also a snowfall warning in effect for the Metro Vancouver area with 5 to 15 cm expected by Sunday. But some of that snow may be washed away by rain, which is expected to arrive Monday in Metro Vancouver and most of the south coast.
Meanwhile, in Newfoundland, the province is assessing the damage caused by a severe storm on Friday, which caused infrastructure damage and flooding.
Environment Canada meteorologists are warning a strong warm front will make its way north across Newfoundland on Sunday.
They predict the island will be covered in snow by Sunday morning, which will change to rain as temperatures rise throughout the day.
But thankfully, after this weekend, the weather will improve. According to Phillips, there will be milder temperatures across the country by mid-week, ironically in time for the first day of winter.
“It’s like natures festive gift for us,” Phillips said, forecasting a pleasant Christmas period.