An Arctic air mass moving in early this week is expected to cause temperatures to plummet across the prairies to levels rarely seen.
Cities like Calgary are likely to experience daytime highs nearly 20 degrees below average with overnight lows between -18°C to -24°C. Wind chill values could make it feel closer to -30.
That will be the coldest it has been in Calgary in nearly two years, when the Jan. 4, 2015 temperature sat between -18°C to -26°C.
It has been an unusually warm year in Calgary when you look at the low end of the temperature spectrum. Up until Nov. 30, there were only two days in 2016 where the mercury dipped below -20°C and only 24 days it was below -10°C. According to Environment Canada’s Climate Normals, Calgary averages 71 days in a year with temperatures that dip below -10°C and 22 days where it goes below -20°C.
This cold spell is expected to stick around until at least the middle of next week.
Parts of Alberta were hit with a band of snow Sunday morning that forced Environment Canada to issue a snowfall warning from the central regions to the southwest corner of the province; including the city of Calgary. Up to 10 centimetres of snow was expected over a short period of time.
This shift could also bring snow into the coastal regions of the lower mainland. Some models suggest Vancouver might see an accumulation of snow by mid-week which can be challenging for residents who rarely deal with those conditions.
Vancouver is coming out of an extremely rainy two months, where they have had almost 400 mm of rain in some areas.
Early analysis of long-range models show there may also be some significant precipitation moving over the great lakes and into southern Ontario after Dec. 7 as this system continues to track east.
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