Forecast: One final shot of arctic air ahead?

Covering the period from March 11 to March 18

This map shows the total amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies so far this winter. The “wettest” region has been over western Alberta, with south-central Saskatchewan being the driest.

As expected, we did see an active storm track during the last forecast period, and as often happens, the weather models struggled. The biggest issue the weather models seem to have is with the intensity of the cold air. The models keep trying to drop in some fairly cold air, but so far, we have not seen it happen.

Before we get into this week’s forecast, I feel the need to point out that the weather models have been showing a lot of variation in their forecasts from day to day, so confidence in this forecast is fairly low.

It looks like this forecast period will begin with an area of low pressure tracking across the northern Prairies. This will allow mild air to move in, with daytime highs on Wednesday and Thursday rising into the +1 to +3 C range and overnight lows around -8 C. Once this low tracks by, an area of arctic high pressure will drop southward into the western Prairies before sliding to the southeast into the Dakotas over the weekend. This will bring mainly sunny skies along with cooler temperatures. Expect daytime highs in the -8 C range with overnight lows around -18 C.

By early next week this high will be off to our southeast and an area of low pressure is forecast to move in off the West Coast. The clockwise rotation around the high and the counter-clockwise rotation around the low will help to pull mild air back into our region. We should see sunny to partly cloudy skies along with daytime highs pushing back above the freezing mark with western regions possibly seeing highs in the +4 to +6 C range.

Looking a little further ahead, the weather models show a storm system moving northeastward late in the week, bringing a chance of rain or rain mixed with snow.

Usual temperature range for this period: Highs, -11 to +2 C; lows, -23 to -8 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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