Polar vortex coming to Manitoba


Manitoba will not be immune to a polar vortex coming to Canada later this week.


Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) says a low-pressure system and cold Arctic air will settle over Manitoba by the weekend.


“It is quite a bit colder than what we’ve seen in the last while,” said Natalie Hasell, warning preparedness meteorologist with ECCC. “We get a little bit of recuperation Wednesday and Thursday, and Thursday is when the next system comes in. And then by Friday, we don’t see any recuperation.”


Hasell says the temperature will drop to -32C Friday night into Saturday morning. She says the cold temperatures will stick around for a while.


“For Winnipeg, we don’t see much recuperation until maybe the second week of February,” she said. “So we are talking about cold temperatures for at least a week, maybe slightly longer.”


ECCC says with the polar vortex coming, people are reminded to dress in layers and limit their time outdoors.


As the temperature drops, concerns rise for people who may not be able to shelter from the cold.


Luke Thiessen with Siloam Mission said the centre will have coats and warm clothing available for people using their services and staying open longer hours during the day.


“Normally we would close our drop-in for a couple hours every afternoon for cleaning. We will not be closing and not be forcing anyone outside,” he said. “When it’s really cold outside, we find ways to make sure we can do all the cleaning and keeping everything safe and sanitary without having to make anyone leave.”


Thiessen adds Siloam takes donations of warm clothing, such as jackets and gloves, and expects they will see lots of demand for those items this week.


Jason Shaw, assistant chief of emergency management and public information with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, said the city is talking with community groups such as End Homelessness Winnipeg in the days leading up to weather events.


“We want to be aware of what these agencies are doing and make sure we’re part of these conversations, so we can assist where necessary,” he said.


Shaw added city facilities are open during regular business hours for people looking for a reprieve from the extreme cold.

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