TORONTO – The calendar may say it’s spring, but Canadians hoping to feel the effects of a new season will either have to head west or hold their breath.
British Columbia has been basking in balmy breezes and savouring sunny skies for the past several weeks while the rest of the country shivers its way through the coldest winter Environment Canada has documented in 35 years.
Unfortunately, with ice still blanketing the Great Lakes and snow piled high over much of the country, weather watchers predict the shivering will continue for weeks to come.
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Environment Canada meteorologist Matt MacDonald said the tale of two winters has been caused by a phenomenon known as a polar vortex — a body of cold air that created a sharp division in the jet stream and formed distinct temperature zones within the country.
“We’ve had this huge pool of cold air sitting over the eastern half of the country, and really we haven’t seen much reprieve from it since December,” MacDonald said in a telephone interview from Vancouver.
“The trough in the jet stream kind of began flexing its muscles the beginning of January and really hasn’t let off since then.”
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