Warm weather was welcomed across the Canadian Prairies earlier this week but as fast as the warmth arrived it is leaving town. A return of colder than normal temperatures for most of the region appears to be the likely scenario as we move into the weekend through most of next week.
The reasons for the colder temperature outlook is due to an amplifying upper level trough across western to central Canada during the next several days allowing for another cold high pressure area to move from northwest to west-central Canada. This is a pattern that has repeated itself numerous times during the past 6 months.
While signs of spring weather are definitely showing up across North America, winter seems to want to throw one more curve ball at us allowing cold weather and even some snow to disrupt the start of spring. The cold weather pattern does not appear to be a long-lasting one with most signs showing a return of at least seasonable temperatures after about a week of chill.
Spring field work start is most definitely going to be delayed for most areas with still a pretty deep snow cover from northeast Alberta to the northeast half of Saskatchewan and for much of Manitoba. Snow cover has pretty much disappeared from central and southern Alberta and through the southwest half of Saskatchewan. We still remain in better shape at this date this year than we were a year ago when severe cold and snow were commonplace through the end of April.
We may see some snow early this weekend as the colder weather slides south into the region but most areas should see light to moderate amounts, including areas that are now snow free. The good news is that the precipitation prospects for the remainder of the month do not look heavy and temperatures should warm back to at least seasonable levels for the last third of April.
Similar to what we have seen during much of the winter Manitoba may have more of a difficult time warming up and getting rid of the snow cover still in place while Alberta and southern Saskatchewan may see better conditions develop more quickly for some spring field work during the coming weeks.
For now it appears most areas will see weather continue to delay the start of spring field work. Flooding potential will remain greatest from the northern half of Saskatchewan to Manitoba where snow water equivalent is highest. The slower warming through these same areas could help slow down the spring melt easing some of the flood potential. On a good note, most of the snow cover is gone across North Dakota, except far northeast parts of the state, so the flood threat from that region looks to be minimal.
Doug Webster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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