After a warmer than usual January, February got off to a frigid start in parts of Ontario.
The polar vortex is descending on Ontario this week, and the coldest weather is still here.
Arctic gusts will penetrate the lower regions of the Great Lakes starting Thursday night, bringing cities like Toronto the coolest temperatures of the season. Wind chill can also reach dangerous levels, increasing the risk of frostbite.
The coldest period appears to be between pre-dawn Friday and pre-dawn Saturday. In Toronto, temperatures are likely to stay above minus double digits throughout the day, with a forecast low of minus 20 degrees Celsius.
After several days in January last year when temperatures dipped into the -20°C range, the last time temperatures dropped below -22°C in Toronto was January 31, 2019.
Core temperature isn’t the only concern. At the peak of the cold weather, we could feel the wind chill down to nearly -30°C. This type of wind chill increases the risk of frostbite on exposed skin. The exposure time to the elements is only 10-30 minutes.
Toronto could also come close to breaking daily temperature records. The lowest temperature on February 3 is -25 C (set in 1955) and the lowest on February 4 is -24.4 C (set in 1946).
On Monday, the city of Toronto issued a severe cold warning. A severe cold warning issued by Environment Canada extends from the Prairie to Labrador to northern Ontario.
While this cold spell in GTA may feel extreme, it is expected to be relatively short-lived. Temperatures are forecast to return to below freezing by Sunday and reach mid-single digits next week.