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Coldest temperatures in years could come to Toronto as polar vortex descends on Ontario

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After a warmer-than-normal January, February is off to a frigid start in parts of Ontario.

A polar vortex is descending over Ontario this week and some of the coldest weather is still to come.

A blast of arctic air will infiltrate the lower Great Lakes area beginning Thursday night, bringing cities like Toronto their coolest temperatures of the season so far. Wind chills will also reach dangerous levels, increasing the risk of frostbite.

The coldest period of weather looks to be between Friday pre-dawn and Saturday pre-dawn. Toronto may not see temperatures climb out of the minus double digits all day, and the forecast low is expected to be into the minus twenties.

While there were several days last January where the temperature dipped into -20 C territory, the last time the temperature fell below -22 C in Toronto was Jan. 31, 2019.

It’s not just the core temperatures that are concerning. With the windchill it could feel close to -30 C at the peak of the cold spell. Those kinds of wind chills increase the risk of frostbite to exposed skin, with only 10 to 30 minutes of exposure needed in the elements.

Toronto could also to come close to breaking daily temperature records. The record low for Feb. 3 is -25 C (set back in 1955) and for Feb. 4 it is -24.4 C (set in 1946.)

On Monday, the City of Toronto issued an extreme cold weather alert. Extreme Cold Warnings issued by Environment Canada extend from the Prairies to Labrador and blanket northern Ontario.

While this cold snap in the GTA may feel extreme, it is also expected to be relatively short-lived. The temperature is forecast to be back above freezing by Sunday, and into the mid-single digits by next week.

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