Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thaw in the east - blizzard west

As we head into this very long and warm January thaw in Quebec, portions of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the northern plains are getting ready for a rude return to winter. The same low pressure area that will be lifting across the central Great Lakes driving the warm air into the eastern third of the country will be pulling arctic air down its backside. Montreal is looking at a very warm weekend with highs reaching up to plus 7 or 8C. There will be plenty of snow melting so try to clear up the storm drains and watch your roof and gutters. Thankfully the warm front attached to the aforementioned storm will not have too much moisture with it, just some showers or spotty freezing rain late Friday into the wee hours of Saturday. Before that we will see steady temperatures today around 1C with partly cloudy skies and a gusty west wind. It will not cool off until Monday at the earliest and even then just a drop below freezing. Some rain late Sunday may transition into mixed precipitation or snow by Monday.

Prairie Blizzard
Out west, we have a much different story with a return to mid-winter weather. The mild air in that region this morning will be replaced by rapidly dropping temperatures and ice cold wind chill values. Heavy snow is forecast to spread across Alberta into Saskatchewan and eventually Manitoba over the next 24-36 hours. Warnings are already in place for the region with up to 20cm forecast in Regina and Winnipeg. Wind and cold will be dangerous with all out blizzard conditions likely at times with wind gusts to over 70km/h possible. This combined with dropping temperatures into the minus teens and wind chill values in the -20's will make for very dangerous travel through Saturday morning. Visibility will be very poor on highways and authorities across the southern Prairies and into Montana are advising people to rethink travel plans.

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