Sask. temps dip well below seasonal as cold arctic air pounds Prairies

"We're looking at over 10 degrees below normal right now," says a lead forecaster with Environment Canada. "So it's definitely cold, and it's not just people's imagination."

Saskatoon and Regina saw temperatures that felt like –21 with the wind chill

Environment Canada says the month of October has been much cooler than usual, mainly due to a consistent stream of Arctic air from northern Manitoba and Hudson Bay. (Emily Pasiuk/CBC)

This month has put the "brrrr" in October for Saskatchewan.

The province is experiencing temperatures much cooler than normal, according to Environment Canada.

"All across Saskatchewan, and across Manitoba as well, most of the month has been defined by below seasonal temperatures," said Brad Vrolijk, a lead forecaster with the national weather service. 

"The defining weather feature that got established a little over a week ago, and has largely dominated the weather over the central and eastern Prairies as a whole, is a pretty large vortex sitting over western Hudson Bay and northern Manitoba," he said.

He wasn't able to verify whether Saskatchewan is setting any cold-weather records for this time of year, but said the weather witnessed in the province is hardly seasonal. 

That's because the vortex has been supporting a consistent northwest airflow through most levels of the atmosphere, which Vrolijk said "has just crashed arctic air" southwards into the Prairies.

In Regina on Saturday, temperatures dropped to –13 C at around 8 a.m., but Environment Canada reports with the wind chill, it felt like –21. Saskatoon also experienced a significant drop in temperatures overnight. Temperatures around 2 a.m. fell to –14 C, feeling like –21 with the wind chill.

Vrolijk said it's tough to predict what the frigid October will mean for the rest of Saskatchewan's fall and winter.

"Were we to get a couple of days of westerly or southwest flow, at this time of year, things can still warm up very quickly, so it's hard to say much about how this is going to feed into the rest of winter," he said. 

"For now though, and it looks like for at least the next week or two, it doesn't look like this vortex is going anywhere."

In southern Saskatchewan — basically from Saskatoon down to Regina — normal temperatures hover around 10 C for a daytime high, with overnight lows between –1 C to –4 C, Vrolijk said.

Right now, highs are hovering around 0 C and overnight lows ranging between –8 C and –12 C.

"So it's well below seasonal for this time of year," he said.

"We're looking at over 10 degrees below normal right now. So it's definitely cold, and it's not just people's imagination." 


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