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Polar vortex shatters single-day records in Barrie
BARRIE -- Many in the region had to dust off their snow shovels for at least one more dig out on Saturday morning after a polar vortex blasted parts of the province, catching many off guard.
Many joggers who took to the paths down at Centennial Beach in Barrie said at times it was whiteout conditions.
"As we came around the lake we couldn't even see the other side," said one jogger, "and then we made the mistake of thinking it's going to be alright, we turned around, and I thought I was in the arctic."
The temperatures were well below the freezing mark sitting around minus 5, feeling like minus 10 with the wind chill.
Environment Canada's Senior Climatologist Dave Phillips says these temperatures will stick around after the weekend.
"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, we see temperatures that are all about eleven, 10 degrees colder than it should be for this time of the year."
The normal temperature for this time of year in Barrie is 18 degrees; the high, 29 degrees was set back in 2015.
Today's forecast shattered single-day records for the coldest morning and afternoon for May 9. With 4 centimetres of snow, it was also the most snowfall we've seen on this day in 135 years.
And that's not good news for farmers.
"Farmers are seeing what we call seed shock," says Phillips. "If they put in seed, it's not going anywhere; the ground is just too cold to actually germinate anything. Everything's been delayed a couple of weeks, maybe three weeks."
Phillips says temperatures should warm up at least 10 degrees by the May long weekend, that's great news for Barrie Hill Farms.
Owner Morris Gervais says today's cold snap may affect his asparagus season, which could be one of his latest starts in 35 years.
"In 1997 we started on May 25, so there was a cold spring like this in 1997," says Gervais, "will we get enough warmth to get started before May 25, I don't know."
Gervais says his asparagus crops need at least a week's worth of warm temperatures. And while the majority of his crops were buried in snow, Gervais says the crops can handle the frigid conditions."
"The asparagus has all been frozen, but here in Barrie, the asparagus wasn't as advanced as some places Southern Ontario," says Gervais, "so I think this frost event would have been much more severe in the southern parts of Ontario."