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Extreme cold has gripped much of Canada thanks to a hovering polar vortex.
Large swaths of the country are under extreme cold alerts.

Temperatures dipped below -50C with the windchill on Wednesday in regions f Ontario and Quebec.

“For areas downwind around the Great Lakes, snow squalls will continue for the rest of the week with some areas picking up close to a metre of snow. Winds are whipping the snow around and causing near-zero visibility on roads to the northeast and south of Toronto,” said Global News chief meteorologist Anthony Farnell.

A polar vortex is a mass of freezing air that typically spins over the North Pole. It has shifted south, bringing frigid temperatures to a large area of North America.

“The polar vortex exists all year long, but mostly resides over the North Pole,” said Farnell. “When the clockwise wind flow in this large swirl of cold weakens, the circulation can be disrupted and split. When this occurs a section can travel south and bring record cold and wind to large areas that typically don’t deal with those temperatures.”

Ottawa and the GTA are forecast to see temperatures above zero next week.

February 1, 2019

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