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Prairies cold snap coming to an end

Conditions are warming back to seasonal in the west
Conditions are warming back to seasonal in the west

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

November 25, 2010 — After more than a week of temperatures in the minus 30's and 40's, conditions are finally warming back up to seasonal across the Prairies.

Temperatures have been well below seasonal in BC and the Prairies
Temperatures have been well below seasonal in BC and the Prairies

It's the break many people in western Canada had been waiting for. Temperatures will be much more bearable across the provinces over the next couple of days.

“We have Chinook winds coming over the Rockies and that's warming things up,” says Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. “Alberta will really feel the difference today, and later that warmer air will be felt in Saskatchewan, too.”

Edmonton saw a daytime high of 1°C Thursday afternoon. That's a dramatic improvement from the record low of -36.9°C the city reached earlier this week. Conditions are also improving in places like Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.

While many people have been anxiously awaiting this warming trend, it's giving firefighters in Calgary a lot to contend with. Dozens of burst water pipes have been reported across the city. Officials say pipes that aren't properly weatherized and drained expand with the water inside and eventually burst when temperatures begin to warm up. In some areas, the water was ankle deep and left damage to walls, carpets and several personal belongings.

Late last week, an arctic high and dip in the jet stream sent temperatures plummeting into the minus 20's and 30's. With the windchill, it felt even colder than that. On Monday, the RCMP in Saskatoon found a man dead in Meadow Lake Park. They say the victim likely froze to death.

Frozen branches in Vancouver
Frozen branches in Vancouver

Conditions were also well below seasonal across British Columbia, but temperatures are starting to warm up there, as well.

“Instead of that deep trough we've been seeing in the west, the jet stream will shift to a more zonal pattern,” says Dillon.

For more details on the plunging temperatures, be sure you check your local forecast. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV, where the National Forecast comes up at the top and bottom of every hour.

With files from Andrea Stockton

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