‘Wicked’ winter weather will continue in Canada: Dave Phillips

Canadians from coast to coast are experiencing the worst of winter this week.

From record-breaking extreme cold in the West to continued snowfall in the East, it’s abundantly clear to Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips that it’s been a “week of terrible weather.”

“It came on all of a sudden. I mean, there was no kind of relief, no kind of acclimatization to it,” he said on the CTV news channel on Saturday. “We had a fake spring and fall and suddenly, boom, winter!”


For the past few days, Canadians in British Columbia, the Prairies and the Territories have been experiencing extreme cold warnings from Environment Canada.

Normally warm Victoria and Vancouver are experiencing frigid temperatures and snow, with wind chills of -20 to -30.

The “brutal cold snap,” according to Phillips, It was enough to break a 60-year-old temperature record in Victoria.

The weather agency said Friday morning’s temperature of -11C at Victoria International Airport surpassed the previous record of -9.4C set in 1963.

An arctic air mass has stalled over the western part of the country and is dropping temperatures over the weekend, according to Environment Canada warnings.

Parts of the affected region saw the mercury drop between -40 and -50 on Friday, but with wind chill values, it can feel as low as -55.

A man walks in the cold trailing a cloud of vapor in Calgary, Friday, January 12, 2024 (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh).

The weather agency said temperatures will continue to drop throughout Saturday and Sunday, with the latter part of the weekend being the coldest.

Some places in Alberta, Northern Saskatchewan and parts of Yukon could feel as low as -55 degrees over the weekend.

“That will freeze the meat in a minute or two,” Phillips said.

Parts of Manitoba and its territories are under extreme cold alerts, with expected temperatures ranging between -45 and -50.

There may be some “moderation” in the climate, Phillips said.

“There is some relief in sight, but wow, it’s been a tough week and there are still some tough days ahead,” he said.

Coral Harbour, Nunavut, can expect continued blizzard conditions due to strong winds throughout Saturday.


Environment Canada has issued warnings for Atlantic Canada for the impending low Texas storm system.

As of Saturday morning, winter storm, snow and storm surge warnings are in effect for northern New Brunswick. Southern parts are under a special weather statement from Environment Canada.

Snow accumulation could approach 25 centimeters in some areas as strong winds move up the east coast, causing degrading conditions.

Pedestrians make their way through wind and sleet in Halifax, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese)

The provinces of Nova Scotia and PEI are under wind warnings from Environment Canada on Saturday morning. Wind speeds could reach up to 90 km/h and are expected to last until early Sunday morning.

Parts of Nova Scotia are also under rain warnings as the Texas low moves through the region, bringing up to 25 millimeters of rain, according to the warning.

Wind gusts extend into Bay St. George, NL, on Saturday, with some parts along the coast experiencing 100 km/h winds at times.

“We all have this kind of misery from coast to coast,” Phillips said.


The windy, snowy system passed through Ontario on Friday night, causing hazardous driving conditions.

During the night, the The storm was expected to travel to Ottawa and northeastern Ontario.Environment Canada meteorologist Gerald Cheng said during a virtual news conference Friday.

Saturday morning, the south Quebec, Montreal and Quebec City were experiencing snowfalland amounts ranging between 15 and 40 centimeters are expected, according to Environment Canada.

Heavy snow began in the Montreal area on Saturday morning and is possible later this afternoon.

The second half of the storm brought warmer air that melted snow in the Greater Toronto Area on Saturday morning.

“However, winds will pick up during the day on Saturday, so that’s something to keep in mind with the freshly fallen snow,” Cheng said.


Phillips said the winter weather conditions seen in some parts of the country will persist, but in others it could be “warmer than normal.”

“I looked at the forecast for late January and February and it shows that most of the country is warmer than normal. So I think El Nino is coming back,” he said.

But Environment Canada’s forecast shows some areas, such as Ottawa and Quebec, could be colder than normal.

“This will allow the ice to grow on the Rideau Canal and in time for Winterlude or the Quebec carnivals,” Phillips said.

In the west, Phillips believes it will be warm enough for people to enjoy the outdoors again.

“In Canada, for the first half of the winter, it hasn’t been that bad if you can say, ‘Well, we’ve been brutalized for a week and not three months,'” he said.

With files from Mitchell Consky of CTVNews.ca

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