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Prairies to enjoy brief mild break


Wintery sun in Burstall, Saskatchewan
Wintery sun in Burstall, Saskatchewan

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

March 9, 2011 — Temperatures across the Prairies are climbing out of the deep freeze -- but snow is on the way for some parts.

A foggy, mild morning in Oyen, Alberta
A foggy, mild morning in Oyen, Alberta

Spring is right around the corner, but looking at temperatures in the Prairies, you might think it's still in the next town over.

Daytime highs have hovered in the low to mid minus teens across the Prairies since a brief warm-up last week. It was so cold in Edmonton on the weekend that organizers of the inaugural Canadian Yukigassen (Snow Battle) Championships were forced to rule that only snowballs less than 20 minutes old could be used because if left too long on the ground, they became “hard as billiard balls.”

But another quick mild break is on its way for the latter half of the work week.

Temperatures have already begun to climb in Alberta, jumping from the minus teens to the minus single digits on Tuesday in Calgary and Edmonton. That mild air will flood the rest of the region on Wednesday and Thursday.

However, the thaw will be short-lived in the northern Prairies. A residual Pacific system will spill over the Rockies Thursday evening, bringing 5 to 10 cm of snow and some fairly intense winds to Edmonton, says Rob Davis, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

“This system will give decent snowfall, and with those winds, usher in cold temperatures again.”

The system will follow the Yellowhead Trail, hitting Sasktoon overnight on Thursday and arriving in Winnipeg for Friday.

The upside is that it won't be as cold as before -- but it won't feel like spring either, Davis says.

“It won't be frigid, but for March, it's cold,” he says. “The Prairies can get these cold outbreaks.”

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