Why It Will Feel Like We Live at the Arctic Circle This Week

A transport gets stuck in the snow Tuesday. Persistent snowsqualls are quickly adding to accumulation on the roads.

You don’t have to understand the weather to know that it is cold out, just open your front door. But why do we go from normal temperatures to frigid conditions so quickly?  The easy answer, the Jet Stream.

Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning for much of Ontario Tuesday but it will take about a day before you actually feel the difference between normal cold and extreme.

First of all, the Jet Stream is a current of air that acts like a conveyor belt moving storm systems across the country. The Jet Stream is also the boundary between two distinct air masses. Since cold air from the arctic is constantly being pulled towards the equator (cold air falls) and the hot tropical air wants to move towards the poles from the equator (warm air rises) there’s a constant battle Mother nature needs to deal with to keep things in harmony, problem is that harmony usually creates extreme weather.

Cold air is more dense and therefore pushes the jet stream further down that it normal does – that’s the case this week. Last year the media dubbed it “the polar vortex” . We’re going to see those “polar vortex” days again as temperatures plunge to well below normal values, it won’t take too much of a wind to create dangerous windchill factors.  Environment Canada is forecasting windchills of close to -40c for the Sault and surrounding areas right through to the weekend.

Position of the cold front as of Tuesday night.
Position of the cold front as of Tuesday night.

As seen in the satellite map the cold front is pushing south and sits just north of the Great Lakes Tuesday afternoon. It is expected to drop over the Great Lakes Tuesday night into Wednesday morning which could in turn produce additional snow squalls in the snow belt areas of the Great Lakes.

Don’t forget about your pets. Yes, they have fur, yes they are animals, but they suffer from cold just as much as humans do. If it’s too cold for you to be outside for an hour or two, it’s just as cold to them and they too can suffer from frost bite and hypothermia . When extreme cold alerts are made, it’s always best to bring your animals inside.

Meanwhile, the coldest temperature recorded on this date was -30.6 in 1973. Environment Canada is calling for temperatures   near -25c overnight and into the morning with just a little wind it will actually feel closer to -40c.