If you are sick of the almost relentless cold across the Prairies during the past several weeks, you may have some hope coming for some milder weather in a week or so.
Southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan have seen some mild weather for brief periods during the past week or two, but Manitoba has been pretty much in the ice box all of the time.
If some of the model output is anywhere near correct, we will see one more brutal push of cold arriving this weekend and lasting into early next week. In fact, some areas may see some of the coldest readings yet this winter with this new air mass.
But there is hope down the road.
These are some models predicting severe cold in the near term are allowing the polar vortex to weaken and lift northward to far northern Canada by later next week and into the middle week of January. This shift along with a weakening of the western North America ridge may allow for a west-to-east jet stream flow across the northern U.S. and southern Canada for a time.
The result of a shift like this would be moderating temperatures as some Pacific Ocean mildness pushes across Western Canada and the northern U.S. Downsloping conditions would take hold and send temperatures upward and helping to at least temporarily bring a break in the cold.
Is this a permanent shift? Probably not. There still remains the polar vortex across northern Canada which my experience tells me likes to make cyclonic circles around Canada during winters that are like the one we are having. I suspect that after the middle of the month the polar vortex may rotate back southwestward then southward to near Hudson Bay once again. This seems to be a winter with the polar vortex making a home on the North America side of the hemisphere rather than the Asian side.
Some of the model guidance has read my mind and does show such an event taking place out about two weeks. The West Coast ridge is forecast to rebuild, allowing the polar vortex to settle back southward.
After we make it through the next bitter cold outbreak this weekend and into early next week, enjoy the week or so of moderating temperatures to follow, because temperatures may come crashing down again during the second half of January.
Doug Webster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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