Weather: Winter-to-spring transitioning ahead

Forecast covering the period from March 17 to March 24

This map shows the percentage of soil moisture compared to average across the agricultural regions of the three Prairie provinces as of Feb. 28, with less than 40-60 per cent of average across a large portion of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The only areas that have near- to slightly above-average amounts can be found in far-western Saskatchewan and scattered pockets across Alberta, and on the eastern edge of Manitoba.

Well, last week’s storm system kind of hit us. Those of you north of a line roughly from Brandon to Hecla Island saw snowfall, with amounts as high as 15 cm. Areas to the south and east of this line saw rain, with amounts generally around five mm. Since the low did not end up as a big storm system, the overall impact on the weather forecast was minimal, except for cooler temperatures where the heavier snow fell.

For this forecast period, it looks like we are going to be in a bit of a transition. By this I mean the weather models have shown a very active pattern, typical for this time of the year — although more lately the weather models have moved toward a quieter pattern, so I am not sure which pattern we will transition into. Based on the models, this forecast period should start off with near-average temperatures as a weak area of arctic high pressure builds in behind the mild temperatures we saw over the weekend and into the early part of the week. We should see sunny skies and light winds along with daytime highs near the freezing mark and overnight lows dropping to around -10 C.

Above-freezing temperatures will move back in over the weekend (March 19-21) as two weak areas of low pressure are forecast to track across south-central regions, bringing clouds along with a few periods of light snow. Things then get interesting as the models show a stronger area of low pressure developing to the west and then tracking across our region around mid-week. Should this system develop it will bring a messy mix of rain and snow, with the best chances for snow in the west and northern sections. This storm system would then be followed by a transition into a colder pattern going into the last week of March. Keep in mind that this is a long way out and the models have not been consistent with this feature.

Usual temperature range for this period: Highs, +4 to -8 C; lows, -21 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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