The inhospitable temperatures in Swift Current this past weekend reached the -40 C mark for the first time in over three decades.

Saturday morning's 8 a.m. temperature of -41 C was the coldest the city had experienced since December 31, 1992, when it plummeted to the exact same mark.

Swift Current followed that feat up on Sunday falling just short of that benchmark hitting -40.8 C at 5 a.m. although it broke the all-time January 14 record of -40.6 C set in 1907.

Eric Dykes, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said an arctic ridge of high pressure created the polar vortex over the region and beyond.

"What we've been seeing the last little while is all that really bitterly cold air that's now overtop of us was over on the other side of the North Pole in Mongolia on the eastern flank," he said. "Now it's flipped back over to us and as a result it's inundated all of western Canada."

The recent cold snap doesn't mean the El Niño pattern for Western Canada is done yet, as warmer and drier conditions will return possibly as soon as this weekend.

"Unfortunately, this is one of those things where if I could use the term cold air wins out, by that I mean cold dense air will if it has enough momentum will push out the warmer air that's lying situ and take over, and that's essentially what's happened."

Swift Current's frigid cold didn't come close to another southwestern Saskatchewan community that held the claim of the coldest spot in the province on both Saturday and Sunday, Leader. The town reached a chilling -45.9 C on Saturday and hit a staggering -46.4 C on Sunday.

They also set cold weather records for January 12 (old -38.7 C in 1998, new -39.2 C), 13 (old -39.7 C in 2005, new -45.9 C), and 14 (old -41.7 C in 1972, new -46.4 C). 

Val Marie broke its January 14 previous mark from 1972 of -40 C with a new low of -43 C yesterday. Maple Creek also established a new January 14 cold weather record of -42.6 beating the prior record of -38.9 C in 1950.