Polar vortex brings May snow to Ontario

Click to play video: 'Polar vortex brings snow to Ontario in May' Polar vortex brings snow to Ontario in May
WATCH ABOVE: Polar vortex brings snow to Ontario in May – May 9, 2020

Ontarians stuck in the house this weekend can rest assured: they’re not missing much in terms of spring weather.

Looking out the window this Mother’s Day weekend will likely mean seeing some unusual weather for this time of the year — snow flurries, record-setting low temperatures and even hail, depending on where you live.

According to Global News meteorologist Ross Hull, the unusual winter-like weather is being caused by an all too familiar weather pattern: the polar vortex.

READ MORE: Southern Ontario in for record-setting cold in time for Mother’s Day weekend

“The cold, snow and graupel (supercooled water droplets that collect on snowflakes) is all due to that familiar winter nemesis — the polar vortex,” said Hull in an email.

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“This circulating area of extremely cold air stayed put over the Arctic during most of winter and early spring but thanks to a change in the jet stream pattern — it has made a late season visit to southern Ontario!”

Click to play video: 'Snowbird’s ‘Operation Inspiration’ soars over Kingston region' Snowbird’s ‘Operation Inspiration’ soars over Kingston region
Snowbird’s ‘Operation Inspiration’ soars over Kingston region – May 8, 2020

This weekend’s weather, which has already set several records in places around northern Ontario, has also set off a chain of frost advisories across the southern part of the province.

Near of below freezing temperature warnings have been issued by Environment Canada in Hamilton, Dunnville — Caledonia — Haldimand, Simcoe — Delhi — Norfolk and the Elgin and Niagara areas.

Hull said temperatures in the atmosphere — about 1.5 km up — have been close to -15 C. That air has mixed with surface air, producing “record cold and rare May snow.”

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“With a temp. plummeting to -4.7 C on Sat. a.m., Pearson Int’l recorded its coldest May 9 on record and its second lowest temp. ever recorded in May.”

The irregular temperature has also spurred delays for one of Canada’s most famous aerobatics team.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds said they were delaying their cross-country salute to health-care workers in Canada due to snow in Toronto.

READ MORE: Snowbirds scrap Saturday flyover in southern Ontario due to snow

Toronto has so far seen on and off bouts of snow and hail intertwined with sporadic bouts of sunny weather.

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The daring flight team said it plans to pause their salute at Canadian Forces Base Trenton for the next 24 hours, according to their Twitter account.

“We said SnowBIRDS not SNOW!” the team wrote.

Ontarians have also taken to social media to make light of the weird temperature.


“Ayooo Government of Ontario!? Your weather machine is broken. I’ve witnessed 4 different seasons this morning alone,” wrote one user.

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“Ontario: almost 400 new cases a day … We’re probably good to start reopening,” wrote user Heather Morgan, who referenced the province’s daily COVID-19 cases.

“Weather: uhhhh … Maybe stay inside a few more days???”


Ontario hasn’t been the only province hit with the vortex, however.

As much as 30 centimetres of heavy snow is expected to fall across New Brunswick throughout Saturday.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia coasts to experience large waves, pounding surf Saturday

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Gusts as high as 60 km/h are also expected in the central and northern areas of the province, with the Acadian Peninsula expecting as much as 80 km/h.

Wind warnings for Nova Scotia have also been issued, with gusts from the west and southwest expected to blow in at as much as 100 km/h along the parts of the coast.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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