OTTAWA -- A polar vortex is set to blast Ottawa with cold arctic air this weekend, but Canada’s top weather forecaster is promising warmer weather will arrive by the first long weekend of summer.

Environment Canada is calling for a chance of flurries Thursday night and on Friday, with temperatures dipping below freezing. The forecast shows Ottawa will see a wind chill of -6 overnight.

Speaking on CTV Morning Live, Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips says a polar vortex is bringing cold air into the region for the weekend.

“The polar vortex, something that scares the bejeebies out of us in January and February. It’s always there up at the Arctic, spinning around like a top. Occasionally in the winter time it does come down and spends a couple of week with us, then goes back,” Phillips said Thursday morning.

“Here in May you don’t often speak of the polar vortex. This is clearly the fact this arctic air has come down, initially we had Hudson Bay air. But this weekend coming up, it’s going to be more arctic air. Temperatures are going to be 10 or 12 degrees colder than you’d expect this time of year.”

The forecast calls for a high of 6C on Saturday, and 8C on Mother’s Day. The normal temperatures for this time of year are a high of 18C and a low of 7C.

Phillips says with no American weather systems coming into Canada to push the cold weather system out of the region, the polar vortex is “just sitting there, nothing is beating it up.”

“It’s not as cold as it would be in the middle of January or February, but for this time of the year these are temperatures that could be record low.”

The polar vortex is an area of low pressure and cold air surrounding the north and south poles. Phillips says the polar vortex always exist, but strengthens in the winter months.

Seasonal temperatures return for the long weekend

While below seasonal temperatures are in the forecast for this weekend, Phillips promises that warm temperatures are on the way for the Victoria Day long weekend.

“What we’re going to see are temperatures that next week are still going to be single digit highs during the afternoon. I think when we get to the long weekend, we really see a change though,” Phillips told CTV Morning live.

“We see temperatures, and we’re not going to be greedy just give us something normal. Normal would be 18 degrees. Next week we’re going to see temperatures that are going to get up there to 15-16. And then on the long weekend we see 17- 18, which is again seasonal for that time of the year.”

And if you’re hoping for hot weather, Phillips suggests it’s on the way after the long weekend.

“From that point on, we see a warm up and we see southern Ontario’s going to be actually warmer than normal for the third week and fourth week of May, and into June.  So, it’s coming but you have to be a little bit more patient.”