TORONTO – Prepare to freeze, Canada.
A polar vortex – a phenomenon in which the cold arctic air extends much further south than it normally does – could strike Canadians as early as next week, according to Environment Canada’s senior climatologist Dave Phillips.
“The forecast seems to be happening,” Phillips said Monday on the CTV News Channel.
Phillips told CTVNews.ca last week that if the wormhole happened, it likely wouldn’t be until the last week of January. Now, after reviewing the updated forecast, he is moving that timeline forward.
He said Manitoba and all points east would likely start to feel the effects of the vortex next week, with daily highs several degrees below freezing and nightly lows that can drop to between -15 C and – 20 C.
The following week, he said, the vortex could also enter the three westernmost provinces, bringing nighttime temperatures as low as -30C.
“It was really a pretty warm and tame winter – and that’s about to change,” he said.
Phillips is not yet certain that the vortex will fall on Canada, although he describes it as probable. It is also possible that it is putting pressure on the other side of the world, cooling the regions of northern Europe and Asia.
Researchers have found that climate change results in increased activity of polar vortices over the long term. The vortex occurs when the difference between the temperature in the Arctic and the temperature further south narrows, weakening the jet stream and facilitating the discharge of cold air southward.
If the bitter cold comes, Phillips said, it may not be as intense as some years ago. In 2020, arctic air brought a wide range of temperatures to western Canada in the order of -30 ° C, with wind chill values approaching -50.
This year, the vortex visit might not last long – “maybe a week, or two weeks at most,” said Phillips, although the remaining weeks of winter are “definitely looking a bit colder” than most Canadians. has seen so far.
“Where is winter? He’s been absent from the action, ”said Phillips.
“Although we are the second coldest and snowiest country in the world, sometimes the polar vortex is a reality for us. ”