An extreme cold warning has gripped the Border City area for the past ten days. First issued on February 2, the extreme cold warning has been consistent with the city. Environment and Climate Change Canada issues these warnings when the air temperature or wind chill is expected to reach -40 C.
Though our air temperature hasn’t quite reached that low, wind chill has consistently dropped to temperatures like -40 C overnight this month. Air temperatures haven’t risen higher than -20.5 C since February 1. February 5 saw a low of -35 C that was colder than Antarctica. Kyle Fougere, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, says it’s a problem affecting most of Alberta due to an arctic air mass.
“We basically had an arctic air mass move down over the province, and these arctic air masses can be very difficult to move out. They’re pretty stubborn. Once you have that cold arctic dome, you need a really big low-pressure system to come through and push that cold air off,” says Fougere.
Our recent temperatures have been much colder than average for this time of year, which usually sees highs of -7 and lows of -17. Though we may see some daytime highs over -20 later this week, that may not last very long.
“Towards the end of the week, we are expecting temperatures to mitigate a bit, where we’re going to see high temperatures of about -18. But overnight lows are still going to be around -24, so still quite cold compared to normal.”
Fougere confirms that temperatures are expected to rise slightly next week, but adds that there’s no major warm up in sight. The rest of the week is expected to have little precipitation due to what Fougere calls a “high-pressure system” currently in place. He adds that this month may have felt colder given the warmer-than-average temperatures experienced in January.