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Mild trend for the Prairies


Andrea Stockton, staff writer

February 12, 2011 — Temperatures are rebounding across the Prairies and many places are set to see above seasonal daytime highs through the weekend.

Above seasonal weather for Saturday.
Above seasonal weather for Saturday.

There's still several weeks left until the official start of spring and for many places, it seems like the winter season will hang on for as long as it can.

On Monday, heavy snow blanketed parts of Alberta. 15 cm fell in Calgary, while Lethbridge saw around 20 cm pile up. Some schools shut their doors for the day after poor and dangerous driving conditions were reported.

The good news is that the recent blast of winter didn't last long. The snow has since eased and temperatures are rising in time for the weekend.

“Alberta and Saskatchewan started to warm up on Thursday and that trend will continue over the next couple of days,” says Danya Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Above seasonal temperatures could help to melt snow
Above seasonal temperatures could help to melt snow

Calgary, for example, saw a daytime high of 5°C on Thursday, a huge improvement from the frigid conditions earlier this week.

“And things got even warmer on Friday,” notes Vettese. “The city saw temperatures rise to 7°C.”

Calgary reached a high of 7°C again on Saturday, and the warmer temperatures are expected to last until Thursday in both Calgary and Edmonton.

“The combination of westerly winds across the Rockies (from the warm air in B.C.) along with high pressure in the area is keeping conditions above seasonal,” explains Brian Dillon, another meteorologist here at The Weather Network.

It won't be quite as warm for areas in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but all three Prairie provinces will still see above seasonal temperatures through the weekend.

Although it may appear warmer than usual, you'll still need your winter coat if you're outside says Dillon. “With the snow pack on the ground it'll still feel rather cool -- so don't let the sun fool you,” he warns.

According to the models, Dillon predicts the warm weather will lose steam by Wednesday. “We're seeing a cold front move in mid week and then the drop in temperatures will follow.”

While the warm up will have residents eager to get outside, it could also bring some melting to the region, says Vettese.

Manitoba's Water Stewardship is monitoring the situation closely as the flood risk is high for the province this spring.

And it's a similar story in Saskatchewan where the outlook for spring 2011 calls for high runoff, especially in agricultural areas.

Officials say the weather in the coming months will play a significant role on the potentially severe spring flood.

To stay updated on the weather in your area, tune into The Weather Network on TV. National Forecasts come up at 2 and 32 minutes past each hour.

You can also sign up to receive weather forecasts and public alerts on your mobile phone.

With files from Jill Colton and Casey MacDonald

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