Expect a colder than usual Mother’s Day weekend as polar vortex sweeps through region

The polar vortex sweeping through parts of North America had Londoners waking up to a light snowfall Saturday morning and forecasters expect the cold air to stick around for the rest of the weekend.

While the provincial lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic may make it more difficult to keep track of the day, it’s the middle of May and temperatures are not the typical ones the region is used to seeing this time of year.

“If we look at the snowfall on average it’s zero,” said Gerald Cheng, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. “In other parts of Ontario there is still some snowfall to be expected, but in southwestern Ontario, usually we are done by now.” 

A blast of arctic air, known as the polar vortex, is what has caused the surge in cold temperatures across the region. In London, Environment Canada recorded a low of -2 C overnight, which with the wind chill felt like -7 C. 

“It’s like the winter that can’t let go,” said Cheng. 

While the worst part of the cold front has passed, according to Cheng, that doesn’t mean it will feel like an average spring weekend. 

On Saturday, the temperature is expected to reach a daytime high of 6 C in the afternoon with a mix of sun and clouds until the end of the day. 

For Mother’s Day on Sunday, people can expect to wake up to a temperature of -1 C with increased cloudiness throughout the morning.

“It doesn’t seem like much, but if you factor in the wind chill, it’s sort of gusty,” Cheng said, which is predicted to be – 5 C.

However, the temperature will rise during the day for a high of 7 C, but there is a 40 per cent chance of showers in the afternoon. 

By Tuesday the region should see the last of the cold front, Cheng said, and by Wednesday temperatures are expected to rise back to double digits for a high of 12 C. 

Temperatures back to normal by Victoria Day

While Cheng said it’s too early to tell what the weather will be like during the Victoria Day long weekend, he said it will be much different than what the region has experienced this weekend. 

“Temperatures will go back to seasonal averages,” he said, which for southwestern Ontario would mean 18 C for the daytime high and nothing less than 7 C overnight. 

“Patience is the key,” he added. 

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