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Forecast: Colder air keeps trying to move in

Covering the period from January 27 to February 3

This map shows the total accumulated precipitation across the agricultural Prairies over the 30-day period ending Jan. 20. It has been a dry 30-day period, with large portions of Manitoba, and the Prairies as a whole, seeing less than 11 mm of water- equivalent precipitation.

Once again, the weather models did a pretty good job with the medium-range forecast. We saw a northern-Alberta low dive across our region in the middle of last week, bringing with it a little snow, definitely some wind, and in a few locations even a little rain. What was different with this quick-moving storm system was the push of colder, more seasonable air behind it. This colder air was then reinforced late last weekend, bringing us the coldest weather so far this year.

To begin this forecast period, the weather models show the cold arctic high-pressure system moving off to the east, taking the coldest of the air with it. Expect daytime highs to rebound back to around -10 C for highs, with overnight lows around -18 C. To our west, there will be a deep trough of low pressure digging along the coast, and the flow around this trough will push us into a more southwesterly flow for the second half of the week. Usually, this type of flow would result in a good chance of a strong storm system, but the models show a weak area of low pressure ejecting northeastward through northern Manitoba around Friday. Over the weekend a second area of low pressure is forecast to move eastward across the central U.S., keeping us dry once again.

Temperatures will moderate to above seasonable ahead of these two features, but once they have passed by to the east late in the weekend, it looks like arctic high pressure will graze by us to our north, dropping temperatures back toward more seasonable values for the start of February. Looking a little further ahead, it looks like the West Coast trough will continue, meaning a quick return to milder temperatures along with the chance of snow.

Talking about mild temperatures, we have now passed the coldest time of the year statistically, which means the usual temperature range is now warming up!

Usual temperature range for this period: Highs, -6 to -21 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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