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Temperatures warm slightly in the Prairies

Waiting for the warmer weather to arrive
Waiting for the warmer weather to arrive

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

March 2, 2011 — After days of frigid and record setting low temperatures, parts of the Prairies will see a brief warm up on Thursday.

Temperatures set to rise to zero degrees Thursday
Temperatures set to rise to zero degrees Thursday

It's the break residents in the Prairies have been waiting for.

Several areas have seen temperatures plummet to the -30°C mark this week. And on Tuesday, it was cold enough for some places in Alberta to set record low temperatures. But on Thursday, “there's a slight warm up from a southerly flow of air,” says Gerald Cheng, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Cities like Calgary will feel a 15 degree jump in temperatures. On Wednesday, the area hit a high of -15 and by Thursday, the forecast daytime high is 0°C.

While the milder weather will have some residents loosening their scarves a little, meteorologists warn not to get too comfortable.

“The warm air coming in off the Pacific will spread over the Rockies and through the southern Prairies Thursday,” said Brian Dillon, another meteorologist at The Weather Network. “But temperatures will drop right back down with high pressure from the Arctic moving in for the weekend.”

Poor visibility in downtown Calgary
Poor visibility in downtown Calgary

Spring is less than three weeks away, but winter seems to have planted its feet firmly in the Prairie provinces.

Earlier this week, gusting winds and heavy snowfall created blizzard conditions east of the Rockies, including downtown Calgary. Poor visibility forced RCMP to close Highway 3 through Crowsnest Pass.

Blowing snow was also a problem in parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba Monday. A low pressure system tracked through southern Saskatchewan, bringing a couple of centimetres of snow to Saskatoon, Humboldt and the Battlefords. That combined with wind gusts of 30 to 40 km/h created treacherous conditions on the roads.

On Tuesday, light snow was reported in many southern communities of Manitoba. Although barely any snow accumulated, gusty winds in the wake of the system was more than enough to create whiteout conditions. Multiple accidents were reported, and as a result sections of Highway 67 had to be closed. Some students even got the day off as schools closed for the day in parts of the region.

With files from Alexandra Pope

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