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Polar vortex to bring coldest air in years to parts of Quebec


So far, the winter season across Southwestern Quebec has been marked by above-average snowfall and above-average temperatures. But that is about to change.

Cold, arctic air has been gradually pushing into the province. Many residents across Northern Quebec woke up to extreme cold warnings Tuesday morning.

Extreme cold warnings in effect on Jan. 31, 2023.

Wind chills in places like Abitibi and Témiscamingue were between -38 and -42 Tuesday morning, while Salluit, in the extreme northern tip of the province, recorded a wind chill of -52.

The colder air is pressing south for the final day of January. Montreal is expecting its coldest maximum of the season so far, with a daytime high of -11 degrees Celsius. The projected high would be 5° below average, and it would be the first time the city would stay in the minus double digits so far this winter season.

7 a.m. to 7 p.m. day planner for Jan. 31, 2023.

Tuesday night, the city is expected to record its first minus 20-degree reading of the season so far, with a forecast low of -21 C.

Forecast low temperatures in Quebec for Jan. 31, 2023.

After a brief warm-up, on Wednesday and Thursday, even colder air will move in for the first weekend of February. An arctic front will push through on Thursday, bringing flurries, and opening the door to the polar vortex.

Upper air analysis for Jan. 31, 2023.

Montreal will not only see its coldest air of the season this weekend, but its coldest readings in years. The temperature Friday night is expected to drop to -28 C with a wind chill around -40. The mercury is expected to stay below -20 on Saturday and the wind chill is expected to stay around -30.

Five-day forecast for the Montreal area starting Jan. 31. 2023.

The last time Montreal recorded a daytime high below -20 C was on January 6, 2018.

Fortunately, the extreme cold will be short-lived. Temperatures will bounce back above the freezing mark on Sunday with about five centimetres of snow.

Seven-day forecast for Montreal, starting Jan. 31, 2023.


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