Weather: An unsure start to this forecast period

Covering the period from March 10 to March 17

In trying to decide which precipitation map would best show just how dry a winter it has been across agricultural Manitoba, I decided on this percentile map that breaks down this winter’s precipitation into 11 groupings, ranging from “exceptionally low” (zero to second percentile) to “exceptionally high” (98th to 100th percentile). A large portion of our region is in the “extremely low” to “exceptionally low” range, with only a small area in the east even coming close to near-normal amounts.

I am in a tough spot with this issue’s forecast. For those who do not know, my forecast deadline is the Friday before you receive the print edition of the Co-operator. That means I must really trust the weather models over the five-day period from when I write this forecast to when you read it. As I mentioned in last week’s forecast, there was a chance of a storm system impacting our region around March 8 or 9, and as I write this there is still a chance it will occur, though it looks less and less likely each day. The problem is, if it does occur it would likely have a significant impact on the rest of the forecast period. So I am going to go with what has worked in the past, trust in the forecast, and we will see how it plays out.

From Wednesday, March 10, through Saturday, March 13, the weather models show us in a weak northwesterly flow. In this flow we will see a shot of cool arctic air push southward, but it looks like the coldest air will stay to our north, then get shunted off to the east. This should result in sunny to partly cloudy skies and light winds, with daytime highs around -6 C and overnight lows dropping to around -15 C. Daytime highs will be a little warmer in any areas that are mostly snow free.

Over the weekend, an area of low pressure is forecast to track across the northern Prairies, allowing warmer Pacific air to flood across our region, boosting daytime highs above the freezing mark. These milder temperatures should last into the early part of next week (March 15-17) before slightly cooler air moves in behind the parting northern low. This mid-week cool-down does not look like it will last long, as the models show milder air building back in later in the week.

Usual temperature range for this period: Highs, +2 to -11 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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