The Airdrie area, and much of the rest of Alberta have been in the grips of an extreme cold warning for over a month now.

Okay, it may seem that it's been that long, but in reality it's only happened, off an on, over the past week or so.  However, unless you planned well and are currently basking on a beach somewhere, you're probably asking yourself, 'when will it end!'  

To find out, we decided to consult with an expert.  Since Balzac Billy is back in his den hibernating until sometime in March, we went to Heather Rombough a Meteorologist with Environment Canada for the answer to that question.  Rombough says, be prepared to shiver for a while longer.

"There's a big high-pressure system sitting over Alberta right now.  It's supposed to slowly weaken and move to the southeast through the weekend, however, it looks like our extreme cold conditions may last all the way into Wednesday, at least off and on, for a lot of areas throughout Alberta."

Rombough says cloud and some snowfall in southern Alberta hasn't helped to regulate the temperatures much.  

She also warns not to get too excited about the prospect of moderating temperatures by Wednesday.  She explains, "By Wednesday there's a weak low-pressure system that should move across the province that might help moderate the temperatures by then, however, past Wednesday into Thursday there is a chance that, especially areas in northern Alberta and central Alberta potentially might see the return of the extreme cold conditions again through at least next weekend.  Calgary and south looks like they should moderate by Wednesday."

Just for the record, Calgary is south of Airdrie.

Many people have been blaming the Polar Vortex effect for the extreme cold in Alberta.  Rombough says no, it's just a high-pressure area.  She wants to clarify some misconceptions about said Polar Vortex which have been propagated by, you guessed it, people in the media.

"The Polar Vortex is just a kind of an overall term for a regularly occurring atmospheric phenomenon.  It kind of gets mixed up with the way the media have portrayed it, but basically, it's just a regular part of the atmosphere."

Rombough says just because we've been under extreme cold warnings and our once pleasant winter has turned into a beast doesn't mean that Balzac Billy lied to us about an early spring.

"It does look like there will be some relatively cold weather through at least another week and then it will start to become a little closer to the normal and then, potentially by mid-March, depending on what areas of the province you're in, perhaps we'll start to see a little bit warmer weather move in."

The normal high temperature in Airdrie is minus 0.7 at this time of year while the low is minus 12.7.  Today's forecast is calling for a high of minus 25 and a low of minus 44 tonight with wind chills ranging between minus 33 this afternoon and minus 44 tonight.  There is also a risk of frostbite on exposed skin in just minutes. 

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