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Forecast: A couple of weeks of cold weather ahead

Issued January 21, 2018: Covering the period from January 23 to January 30

This map shows the total amount of precipitation that fell across the agricultural Prairies during 2018. While some regions of the Prairies naturally see less precipitation than others, this map nicely points out which areas were the relative driest or wettest. You can see that the driest area was centred around southwestern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta.

As forecast, cold and sunny conditions moved in last week and, as predicted, the coldest weather occurred over the weekend, with many locations across southern and central Manitoba seeing overnight lows in the -35 to -40 C range — temperatures not seen since the winter of 2014, all thanks to the infamous polar vortex.

It looks like we’ll continue to see the cold weather stick around for this forecast period and beyond. With the polar vortex now split into two areas including one over northern Quebec, the stage is set for cold arctic high pressure to freely move southeastward. After a brief warm-up early this week the weather models show another strong area of arctic high pressure building southward out of the Yukon late Wednesday and into Thursday. Ahead of the high we could see a few flurries early on Wednesday as a weak area of low pressure tracks along the arctic frontal boundary. Besides the reinforcing shot of cold air with this high, it looks as if the centre of high pressure will be to our west, resulting in a breezy northerly wind and high wind chill values on Thursday and Friday.

Warm air will try to push eastward beginning on the weekend, but it looks as if it will only make it as far east as Saskatchewan, with our region only seeing a slight warming of temperatures. Expect temperatures to moderate from highs of around -23 C and overnight lows of around -33 C early in the weekend, to around -16 C for highs and -26 C for lows to begin next week. Along with the slightly milder temperatures we’ll see a few chances for light snow or flurries as a couple of disturbances slide along the frontal zone between the cold and warm air.

The first system is forecast to move through late Friday into early Saturday, with the best chances of any snow being over western regions. The second system looks to be a little stronger and is forecast to zip through late on Sunday and into Monday, bringing with it a quick shot of snow and blowing snow to both central and southern regions. Arctic high pressure is then forecast to move in by Tuesday, bringing a return to well-below-average temperatures that are expected to continue right through to February.

Usual temperature range for this period: Highs, -21 to -6 C; lows, -33 to -16 C.

About the author

Co-operator contributor

Daniel Bezte

Daniel Bezte is a teacher by profession with a BA (Hon.) in geography, specializing in climatology, from the U of W. He operates a computerized weather station near Birds Hill Park.



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