The Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada says the "balmy" weather we have been experiencing since Christmas may soon come to an abrupt end. David Phillips says their models are showing a polar vortex developing in Siberia and tracking towards western Canada.
But Phillips is quick to point out that this change in the weather could still be a few weeks away.
"Typically, when the polar vortex appears to begin to move, it takes about three weeks to finally get from Siberia over to North America," he clarifies.
He says things are about to change. Now, he stresses that we shouldn't see the same -60 degree temperatures that can be experienced in Siberia. Rather, we can expect lows in the -30 degree range. He notes this cold snap will likely envelope us for at least a couple of weeks.
For those who have appreciated the last few weeks where very little shoveling has been required, Phillips says the arrival of the polar vortex might only help that cause. That is because typically when you get this cold Arctic air, it results in plenty of sunshine and only light winds.
"We don't get storms, you don't get Alberta Clippers, we don't get Colorado Lows coming from the Arctic," he explains. "So it tends to be just dry, crisp, sunny, but really cold air and that dominates."
Phillips says it is after the polar vortex leaves that you often get stormy weather.
"Now, a lot can happen before it gets there, it could just disappear, it could go elsewhere," he points out. "But the models seem to suggest, and the American models are saying the same thing, that we're looking at February across the west as being colder than normal."
He says their maps are also showing February will have normal amounts of precipitation. Phillips reminds us that we are already into the back half of winter. He notes we are gaining nearly three minutes of daylight every day, plus February is just around the corner, which happens to be the shortest month of the year.
Phillips says when and if the polar vortex comes, it will probably produce the coldest conditions that we'lll see this winter, though still a long way off from the -45 degrees being felt today in Verkhoyansk, Russia.
"I hope I'm wrong, I hope the models are wrong," admits Phillips. "But they all seem to agree on the same thing, it's going to turn colder in the first days of February and continue for at least a couple of weeks."