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Bitter cold returns to western Canada


Temperatures have plunged across western Canada. Click the image to see how Edmontonians cope with the cold.
Temperatures have plunged across western Canada. Click the image to see how Edmontonians cope with the cold.

Matt Casey, staff writer

February 23, 2011 — An arctic chill is once again gripping much of western Canada this week, including the coast of BC.

Snowfall totals expected through Thursday
Snowfall totals expected through Thursday

Places like Calgary and Edmonton got a brief break from bitter temperatures and frigid windchills on Monday, but freezing conditions have once again filtered back into the region.

Daytime highs for many western communities began to plummet on Tuesday and will continue to dip through much of the week.

“An Arctic outflow boundary is moving in. This will bring in colder temperatures for pretty much everyone west of Thunder Bay, Ontario,” explains Brian Dillon, a meteorologist here at The Weather Network.

The colder air is also extending into British Columbia. Cities like Vancouver and Victoria could see below seasonal temperatures hovering close to the freezing mark right through to the weekend. On Wednesday morning, people living in Victoria and throughout Vancouver Island woke up to a fresh layer of snow on the ground.

Dayna Vettese, another meteorologist at The Weather Network, says that an arctic high moving in over the region is to blame for the cold snap in Vancouver.

“There's an Arctic high starting to settle in over the west, it's very strong and it's bringing lots of cold air with it as it slides south,” explains Vettese. “On average, Vancouver will be at least five degrees below seasonal.”

Meanwhile, in the interior of BC and extreme southern Alberta, another round of snow is in the forecast.

It's still looking and feeling like winter in La Ronge, SK
It's still looking and feeling like winter in La Ronge, SK

On Monday, parts of the central Prairies plunged to record-breaking lows. Weyburn, Saskatchewan hit -32.6°C breaking the old record set in 1994 of -30.0°C. The community of Rockglen shattered a 2008 record by seven degrees when the temperature fell to a frigid -27.2°C.

Extreme cold temperatures turned deadly in Prince Albert on Saturday. Frigid temperatures are believed to have been a factor in the death of a 51 year old woman.

The Weather Network was in Edmonton on Tuesday, and asked locals why they were so good at dealing with the cold.

“Probably because we've been used to it our whole lives!” said one woman.

“Lots of layers, lots of tea and a good attitude because that's all you can do in Edmonton!” laughed another resident.

“We're tough,” said a third woman. “Albertans are tough!”

To keep up to date on the weather in your area, be sure to check your local forecast. You can also tune in to The Weather Network on TV, where the National Forecast comes up at the top and bottom of every hour.

With files from Lyndsay Morrison and Andrea Stockton

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