February 2020 is on track to be the coldest February in 83 years.
“February will be typically the coldest month of the year , so it’s not uncommon to get cold air outbreaks in February, ”said Kyle Fougere, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. “But this one will be particularly extreme cold.”
Canada’s northern regions are going to face the wrath of a polar vortex that will cause wind chills to plummet to as low as -70 C. Yes, -70.
Such temperatures make those regions of Canada colder than Mars, which has an average annual temperature of around -62 C.
Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold weather alert for : Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and New Brunswick. This means that more than half of the Canadian provinces are expected to experience extreme cold temperatures.
People have been advised to stay indoors, especially younger children, older adults, individuals with chronic illnesses and outdoor workers due to high risks of hypothermia and freezing.
“Watch for cold related symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, muscle pain and weakness, numbness and colour change in fingers and toes,” said Environment Canada.
Canada’s southern regions may not have it as bad but are still affected to a significant degree. Parts of Manitoba going to have wind chills as low as -45 C, while northern Ontario and northern Quebec are going to see temperatures of around -50C and -60 C, respectively.
“The displacement of the polar vortex in more southern latitudes has meant some extreme cold for areas in northern Canada and even down to the south,” says meteorologist Erin Wenckstern.
In contrast, Atlantic Canada is experiencing warmer temperatures, with regions like Halifax showing highs of 9 C. Such represents a 60-degree temperature difference compared to parts of northern Canada.