Extreme weather patterns in store for much of Canada as 2022 kicks off

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WATCH: Air travellers continue to be frustrated by delays, cancellations – Jan 4, 2022

All of Canada will have to deal with extreme cold, snow and high winds for at least the month of January as colder than normal temperatures take over.

Environment Canada has issued several warnings for various parts of the country, cautioning against severe cold, snowfall and thunder.

Even the Great Lakes area in southern Ontario and Quebec, which hasn’t had much winter weather yet, will be seeing some of the coldest air in about three winters, Global News’ Chief Meteorologist Anthony Farnell said Friday.

Farnell says the winter got off to a very easy start across Canada. The temperatures were mild, but since Christmas and the New Year’s holiday, the weather has taken a turn.

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“We started to see more extremes and now I think this is something we’re going to have to deal with,” he said.

Climate change is a contributing factor for extreme weather events, Farnell said in an earlier interview with Global News as parts of Canada experienced record-setting heat waves with raging wildfires. Some places also saw heavy flooding in 2021.

“These events are happening more frequently and climate change is one of the reasons for that,” he explained.

Here's what to expect

As of Friday, some parts of Ontario can expect a period of very cold wind chills that will last until early Saturday morning, according to the weather agency.

In Quebec, an Arctic airmass over the region will give wind chill values near -48 overnight. Temperatures Saturday morning will also remain especially cold, with Environment Canada warning of “an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia.”

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Farnell explained that the extreme cold doesn’t come as a surprise. It has been on the weather map for weeks out west, where it has been brutally cold from British Columbia through the Prairies.

There has also been a cold shift to the eastern half of Canada, which hasn’t happened yet this winter.

“As the temperatures drop in the east, we have this big storm on the east coast. Snowfall amounts in parts of New Brunswick, P.E.I., and Nova Scotia could reach 50 cm or half a metre of snow by the time this is all done,” said Farnell.

Nova Scotia, too, is getting heavy snowfall with blowing snow, with conditions expected to improve on Saturday.

A big winter storm on the west coast, meanwhile, is bringing not only heavy amounts of snow to Vancouver and Victoria Friday, but also a freezing rain storm to parts of the Fraser Valley.

The places that have been the coldest in the last couple of weeks are some in west Alberta and Saskatchewan, which Farnell says are going to be much milder into next week.

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Freezing rain creates hazardous road conditions in Fraser Valley

“There are some places that are going to go above the freezing level for a couple of days. So that’s some great news for those out west, but it’s not going to last,” he added.

Farnell says much of Canada is coated in a thick layer of snow right now, which will at least give kids something to do.

“I know there’s not much to do inside and many provinces have COVID restrictions, but I mean, at least if it’s going to be cold, at least have snow on the ground.”

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