Forecast: Arctic air continues to dominate

Issued February 4, 2019: Covering the period from February 6 to 13

This map shows the total amount of precipitation, as a percentage of average, that has fallen across the Prairies during the first three months of winter (November to January). The northern part of agricultural Saskatchewan and central and northern parts of Alberta saw near to above-average amounts. Most of the southern Prairie provinces have seen below- to well-below average amounts.

Last week’s forecast wasn’t as far off as it seemed. The cold air was a little colder than forecast, a little more snow fell across central regions last Saturday, and the southern low tracked a little farther north than forecast on Sunday, bringing a fairly good dump of fluffy snow.

For this forecast period, it looks like we will once again drop into the deep-freeze, but this time the centre of the cold air will be coming from the northwest and thankfully won’t be as cold as the last outbreak of arctic air. On Wednesday, we will see clouds along with some light snow across southern regions as a second Colorado low tracks by well to our south. The main snow from this system will stay well south of us, but a second area of snow is expected to develop ahead of the low. This low and associated snow will quickly be pushed to the south as a building ridge of arctic high pressure pushes in from the northwest. We should expect to see daytime highs in the -22 to -25 C range with overnight lows in the -30 to -34 C range.

It looks like we’ll see a slight warming trend over the weekend as the arctic high slides to our east and a large area of low pressure begins developing to our southwest. As our flow becomes more southerly over the weekend we’ll see an increase in clouds as warmer air overrides the cold arctic air in place across our region. Along with the clouds we may also see the odd flurry. Southern regions may see a light accumulation of snow late in the weekend and into Monday as the southwestern low tracks across the central U.S.

Weak arctic high pressure is then forecast to redevelop across our region for much of next week, bringing with it sunny to partly cloudy skies along with a continuation of colder-than-average temperatures. Daytime highs are forecast to be in the -15 to -20 C range with overnight lows ranging from -25 to -30 C.

Looking further ahead, medium-range weather models continue to point toward a warming trend during the latter part of February.

Usual temperature range for this period: Highs, -19 to -3 C; lows, -32 to -12 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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