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Forecast: Colder and more active weather pattern developing

Covering the period from January 8 to January 15

To start off 2020 I have two maps. This map shows the amount of precipitation that fell during the first six months of 2019. The second map (see further down) shows the last six months. You can clearly see two distinct patterns, with the first half of the year across agricultural Manitoba seeing very dry conditions and the second half being moderately to exceptionally wet.

It has been awhile since I last wrote a forecast. Back in the middle of December the medium- to long-range weather models were calling for milder weather during the second half of December and it turned out they were right. So now the big question is, what are these weather models calling for over the next couple of weeks?

It looks like our weather pattern is going to become a little more active over the next couple of weeks, but as this is a predominantly northwesterly flow forecast to develop, any storm systems and snow we do see will likely be on the light side.

This map shows the previous six months of precipitation across the Prairies, much of which seemed to end up in southern Manitoba. photo: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

This forecast period should begin with an area of low pressure, an Alberta clipper, developing to our west, then tracking quickly along the border and moving off toward Lake Superior by Thursday. This system will bring clouds along with a quick couple of centimetres of snow late on Wednesday and into Thursday morning. Behind this system, arctic high pressure will drop in from the northwest, bringing a return to more seasonable temperatures by the weekend.

This arctic high pressure looks like it will keep the next area of low pressure to our south over the weekend, then be reinforced by another area of high pressure early next week. Expect plenty of sunshine along with cold, but not bitterly cold, temperatures. Daytime highs are forecast to be in the -15 C range with overnight lows dropping down into the mid-minus 20s.

Temperatures look like they will begin to moderate late next week as a weak area of low pressure races across the central Prairies late on Wednesday or Thursday. The weather models then show a strong area of low pressure dropping southward along the coast, moving toward California. This setup can often spawn big storms as the energy works its way inland, so it may be worth watching — but as usual, that is a long way off.

Usual temperature range for this period: Highs, -23 to -6 C; lows, -34 to -15 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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