Enjoy the next few days of extraordinarily warm winter weather while you can — a solid swing in temperatures brings a bitter chill this weekend.
The mild, dry winter has been atypical for Fort St. John, with temperatures well above normal over the last three months. January alone has seen 13 days above zero degrees, with average temperatures this month sitting at -3C. Normal temps for this time of year average around -13C.
That’s thanks to southwesterly air flows bringing in the warmth from tropical latitudes, meteorologists say. But the warm air will squeezed out by northwesterly flows heading into the weekend.
“It’s been extraordinarily warm,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan. “The cool down is coming, theres no doubt about that.”
The cold front has already started, prompting a wind warning across the Peace region Tuesday, with wind gusting between 70 to 90 km/h.
Temperatures will drop from a a high of 6C on Tuesday to -12C by Saturday.
“With this cold front, we’re shifting from that southwesterly flow to northwesterly. It’s pivoting and it’s going to open the door to the release of the polar vortex, and allow cold air to sink from the arctic,” Castellan said.
Temps will continue to fall below -20C through the weekend, well below normal, with highs currently forecast at -22C next Monday. It will probably be the coldest Wednesday next week, Castellan said.
“It will be significantly colder,” he said. “It’s going to be a pretty solid shift.”
It should be a fairly dry cold snap, however, Castellan said, with the odd snow flurry but no big accumulations.
The region may see a few centimetres Sunday into Monday, though there will be more certainty in the forecast later this week, he said.
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at email@example.com.