Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Polar vortex in July? No, but cooler temps still on the way

Water churns through the Portage Diversion spillway in Manitoba on July 6. Approaching cooler air masses may bring a reduced chance of rainfall in the region. (Co-operator photo by Shannon VanRaes)

CNS Canada — A cold mass of air making its way from the Arctic toward the U.S. has led to some reports of a summer return of the “polar vortex” that sent temperatures plummeting to extreme lows over the past winter.

While the weather patterns are similar, the surge of cooler air isn’t likely to cause any problems at this time of year, according to meteorologist Drew Lerner of World Weather Inc. in Kansas.

The term polar vortex may generate some attention, “but it’s really nothing more than another deep low pressure system that will settle across Ontario and Manitoba, and into the U.S. Great Lakes region for a short period of time,” said Lerner.

“In the winter, it really is a polar vortex… but in the summer, it’s just a pocket of cold air that manages to get further south.”

As far as the Prairies are concerned, “we’re expecting to see some low temperatures across Manitoba and into eastern Saskatchewan,” said Lerner, with the cold surge hitting those areas around July 14-15.

He estimated overnight lows might dip into the single digits Celsius at that time, which would be cooler than normal, but still well above raising concerns over freezing.

Cooler temperatures will be followed by a return of hot summer conditions, although the trend models point to similar temperature dips over the next few weeks.

The cooler air masses that come down will also come with a reduced chance of rainfall, said Lerner. The cool air masses will be interspersed with hotter weather and increased chance of timely precipitation at those times, he said.

The cooler weather in the eastern Prairies will result in a ridge of high pressure to the west, including Alberta. With the bias looking hotter and drier in that province, he said the ridge was one thing to keep an eye on going forward.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.


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