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Forecast: Some signs point to milder weather ahead

Issued February 12, 2018: Covering the period from February 14 to February 21

This map shows the total amount of precipitation that fell across the Prairies during the 60 days ending Feb. 8, as a per cent of average. A quick look at the map shows just how dry it has been this winter, with a good portion of agricultural Manitoba and Saskatchewan reporting less than 60 per cent of average, and a large part of this reporting less than 40 per cent. The only above-average area is across western Alberta, thanks to a system that brought significant snow to those regions last week.

With the polar vortex still firmly in place, our weather forecasts have been predictable, and once again last week we saw the weather play out darned close to what the weather models had predicted. Arctic air dominated right through the weekend and some areas even saw a little light snow Sunday as the forecast weak area of low pressure cut through central and eastern regions. The timing of the main forecast features did fall apart during the final part of the forecast, as the predicted push of warmer air moved in a little quicker than expected.

For this forecast period, it looks like the polar vortex isn’t totally breaking down. After a mild start to the week, temperatures are going to cool back down Thursday and Friday as arctic high pressure pushes in. Over the weekend we will see temperatures moderate as an area of low pressure comes in off the B.C. coast and moves across central North America. The weather models are having a hard time determining just how this low will evolve, so confidence in this part of the forecast is low. There is the potential for some accumulating snow from this low, with extreme southern regions seeing the best chance late in the weekend as the main energy moves through the Dakotas.

Behind this system we will see yet another arctic high drop south from the Yukon, bringing a return to colder temperatures. Expect daytime highs to be in the -14 to -18 C range with overnight lows around -25 C. The high is forecast to drop well to our south by the end of next week, which will place us in a more westerly flow starting Wednesday or Thursday. Combine this with a predicted weakening of the polar vortex and it is likely slightly above-average temperatures will move in starting late next week.

Except for next weekend, the weather models are not showing any significant chances of snow any time before the end of the month.

Usual temperature range for this period: Highs, -17 to -3 C; lows, -30 to -11 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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