Winter weather tightens grip on parts of North America

Temperatures in some parts of Canada are 20C lower than average.

    Temperatures in much of Canada are 10 to 15C lower than average and the locals are being warned they will most likely have to wait until May for an extended period of warm weather. 

    On February 2, Punxsutawney Phil, the forecasting groundhog, predicted another six weeks of winter in North America. At the time many locals groaned at the thought of the cold weather continuing until the middle of March.

    The forecasting rodent wasn’t wrong and March was certainly a cold month for much of Canada and the northeastern parts of the United States.

    In fact, the seemingly endless string of nor’easters that whipped up the east coast of North America, ensured that many locations in the east, including New York and Washington, DC, endured a colder March than February.

    Now that we are in the second week of April, it seems that even the gloomy prediction of the groundhog was horribly optimistic.

    The weather is still bitterly cold across much of the continent and spring weather is still a distant dream.

    The current cold snap has been caused by a blocking pattern in the Arctic. This has sent the frigid air southwards, centred on the Canadian Prairies, where many locations were between 10 and 20C below average.

    The cold weather smashed numerous daily records across Saskatchewan early on Friday morning. Saskatoon and Regina both dropped to -23.3C, beating their previous records of 20C, and far lower than the average of -1C.

    The cold weather will ease slightly over the next few days, but another Arctic blast will surge across the region on Wednesday and Thursday. Although this cold snap isn’t expected to be as severe as the current one, it is still expected to drag the temperatures around 10C below usual.

    For those living in the region, it looks like the wait for spring will continue for a while yet. Most long-range forecasts are predicting that extended periods of warm weather will not appear until May.

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