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Forecast: Above-average temperatures ahead?

Issued March 4, 2019: Covering the period from March 6 to March 13

This map shows the departure from average amounts of precipitation across the Prairies so far this winter. Several people to whom I’ve talked seem to indicate that some areas have a lot of snow, but looking at the map — and Manitoba in particular — we can see that except for a few small areas, the region has generally seen below-average amounts of precipitation. Most areas have reported around 10 to 20 mm of water- equivalent precipitation below average.

Well, it looks like we’re paying for the nice warm December as cold winter-like temperatures dominated our region for most of the last forecast period. Over the last month or so, the weather models have been pointing toward a break in the cold weather sometime around the middle of March, and while it does look like we will start to see some warmer weather, it doesn’t look like it will be the dramatic flip in temperatures a lot of people seem to be expecting.

Last issue’s forecast played out not too badly, with the biggest issue being the timing of the main systems. Everything happened about a couple of days quicker than the models forecast, meaning the cold weather moved in last weekend instead of early this week. This cold weather looks like it will stick around for a little while longer as a large upper low continues to spin over northern Quebec and Hudson Bay. This will keep our region under a predominantly northerly to northwesterly flow. While the overall air mass will be cold, the building spring sunshine will help to moderate temperatures. Expect daytime highs to slowly warm toward the -8 to -12 C range by Thursday or Friday, with overnight lows around -18 C. High pressure looks to dominate, meaning plenty of sunshine along with light winds.

On the positive side, the cool arctic high pressure will continue to keep the main storm track well to our south, as the weather models show another Colorado low tracking across the U.S. Midwest over the weekend. Any clouds or snow from this system will stay well to our south.

The weather models then show a large area of low pressure moving into the Gulf of Alaska late into the weekend and into the early part of next week. This low looks as if it will spin off a secondary low that will then track across Northern Canada. This will do a couple of things: first, it will cut off the flow of arctic air, and second, the counter-clockwise rotation around this low will begin to pull milder air up from the south. Expect to see mainly sunny skies to start next week along with warming temperatures. Daytime highs are forecast to be at or even above the freezing mark by Tuesday, with overnight lows in the -10 C range. These mild temperatures look like they will stick around right through the week and into the following weekend.

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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