Environment

Canada Weather Dips to a New Low This Valentine's Day

February 14th 2016

By:
Ingrid Holmquist

Canada beat a new record this Valentine’s Day – and it wasn’t very romantic or heartwarming. Rather, it was downright cold: The temperature reached its lowest point since 1879.

In Central and Eastern Canada, the weekend's deep freeze sparked roughly 140 extreme cold warnings throughout Ontario and New Brunswick.

Early Sunday, the temperatures dipped down to minus 28 Centigrade (minus 18.4 Fahrenheit)in Ottawa and minus 27 (minus 16.6 F) in Montreal. The wind chill made things even more treacherous for anyone trapped outdoors: minus 40 C (minus 40 F) in both Ottawa and Montreal, the CBC reported.

In northern and eastern Quebec, Environmental Canada told people the wind child values would be between minus 38 C (minus 36.4 F) and minus 50 C (minus 58 F) all day Sunday.

The reason for this out of character weather is in part a large arctic high-pressure system.

Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told CBC:

“I keep saying to people, you know, there will be times when El Niño will go to sleep, and we’ll see that dreaded Polar Vortex, reaching down from Siberia right into the heart of Canada, and, of course, that’s what we’re seeing this weekend.”

Frigid Canadians took to Twitter to share their thoughts and odd occurrences that happened to them in the uncommon cold.

Not only is the cold dangerous for people, it’s also destructive to technology.

While the tweets are funny (and on occasion reflect Canadians' trademark self-deprecation), they also remind us of the serious issue of climate change. Volatile weather such as this is a harsh reality check about the dangers of climate change.

Luckily for our neighbors to the north, temperatures are supposed to level out to seasonal norms by Monday.