The snow and ice is finally melting and spring is here, but meteorologists are warning it might be a few weeks until consistently warm weather arrives in southwestern Manitoba.
Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, said there is no dominant weather trend heading into the next month and further into the spring season. That means both the temperature and precipitation amounts will likely fluctuate up and down.
"I would expect the variability to continue, we will have low- and high-pressure systems come through the Prairies, and with the passage of each one we will see a change in the weather. The ups and downs are going to keep happening … but it will depend on which day you’re looking at," Hasell said
Kelly Sonnenburg, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, agreed, saying the overall temperature will average out to normal, but will swing up and down along the way. She said this trend is common for spring in the Prairies.
"We’ve got the battling of the air masses and that sets the stage for ridges and troughs to develop in the jet stream, and that allows basically our weather patterns to fluctuate all over the place during the spring season," she said.
While the average temperature for late March is around 3 C, on Tuesday the high was approximately 7 C. The temperature climbs on average 1 C to 2 C each week in the spring, Sonnenburg said, but the temperature is expected to fall again around the middle of next week.
While daytime temperatures fluctuate, the temperatures at night are likely to fall, which will refreeze the water from snow and ice that melted during the day. Hasell said that could create wildly different walking and driving conditions — literally night and day.
"Even if you’ve had a relatively benign weather day where not much has happened and it’s sunny, your road conditions could be very different than what you expect from the weather itself because of this freeze-thaw cycle," she said.
"Be careful when you’re walking around, especially in the early morning and the evening … anything with liquid will become icy."
Spring flooding may also be a concern in some parts of southern Manitoba, including around Brandon. Hasell said the southwest corner of the province has seen slightly more precipitation over the winter than normal, but Saskatchewan, where the Assiniboine River starts, has seen less.
The northern United States also got lots of snow over the winter, Sonnenberg said, which is more of a concern for the Red River and the area south of Winnipeg.
The warm days ahead will be a good chance for people to enjoy the outdoors and get some vitamin D after being cooped up in self-isolation, she said. People can get some sun in their backyards, deck or balcony while still respecting social distancing guidelines.
While the temptation is there to get fully invested in spring weather early in the season, Hasell said it’s important to keep the mindset that late-season snowstorms do happen. It’s a good time to change the batteries in smoke alarms and make sure sump pumps are still working.
"We can still get snow well into April… so don’t jump onto the spring-summer bandwagon quite so soon. The calendar says it’s spring, but we know in southern Manitoba that spring takes a little while to really show up. Enjoy the weather, but take your precautions."
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