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Forecast: We’re heading back into the deep freeze

Issued January 29, 2018: Covering the period from January 31 to February 7

This map shows the departure from average precipitation across the Prairies so far this winter. The map clearly shows just how much of the Prairies has been dry (brown areas), with only a few locations in the north and far west seeing above-average amounts. The driest region continues to be agricultural Manitoba, with several scattered locations reporting precipitation deficits of greater than 50 mm.

Last week’s forecast played out pretty close to what the weather models had predicted. Most areas did see some snow last Friday and early Saturday, with snowfall totals ranging from a dusting up to about seven cm. Colder air moved in behind the low as expected Sunday and Monday, before a brief warm-up on Tuesday as the forecast Prairie low moved through. Since I have to write this forecast a day before this low impacted our region, I am not sure what the overall snowfall totals will be. The low does look like it will track a little farther south than originally expected, which would bring a little more snow or freezing rain to southern regions and slightly higher snowfalls to central regions. The only sure thing with this system is that the cold air will quickly pour south behind it.

That is where this forecast period begins. The low that affected us early in the week is forecast to race off to the northeast and continue to deepen. This will help to re-establish a polar vortex over northern Hudson Bay. The counterclockwise circulation around this low, combined with the clockwise circulation around a building ridge of high pressure off the B.C. coast, will create a deep and persistent northwesterly flow originating in Siberia.

The first arctic high will slowly drop southward through Alberta and Saskatchewan during the later half of this week and the weekend. This will place us on the breezier eastern side of the high. Moderate winds combined with daytime highs in the -20 C range and overnight lows around -30 C will result in a return of extreme wind chill values. This first arctic high is forecast to drift off to the southeast early next week, making room for a second arctic high to move in. This reinforcing shot of cold air will keep our temperatures well below average, with temperatures expected to be right around the low end of the usual temperature range for this time of the year.

Looking further ahead, it looks like this cold snap will last for at least another week.

Usual temperature range for this period: Highs, -21 to -5 C; lows, -32 to -14 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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