First big cold snap in two years

Last week’s forecast played out pretty much as expected. The only problem was that the two storm systems ended up being a little stronger than expected.

It definitely feels like winter, as we are experiencing the first significant cold snap in almost two years. A fairly strong ridge of high pressure remains in place over the West Coast, which means we’ll be in a strong northwesterly flow for much of this forecast period.

Under this northwesterly flow we’ll see arctic high pressure slide southward during the first half of this week, bringing sunny skies and very cold temperatures. By Thursday, a weak system is expected to ride over the western ridge and dive southeastward. It currently looks as if this system will be a little farther west and south compared to last week’s systems. This means western and extreme southern regions will see the best chances for some light, measurable snow. Temperatures will warm up a little as the system approaches on Thursday, but will quickly cool down again on Friday.

Over the weekend the western ridge is forecast to weaken, allowing another system to push eastward. Confidence in this is not that high at this point, but if the ridge does weaken then the low will be able to take a more northerly track through the north-central Prairies. This will result in the light snow staying well to our north, and milder air will work into our region. High temperatures over the weekend look like they’ll be in the -10 C range.

The weather models then show a Colorado low developing on Monday. This system will likely bring clouds and some light snow or flurries late on Monday or Tuesday as it pushes to the northeast. So far all models are keeping this system well to our south. Behind this system it looks like arctic high pressure will push southward, once again bringing a return to cold temperatures for the middle of next week.

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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