Tuesday, January 12th 2021, 5:24 pm - Powerful winds and a swath of snow could make for difficult driving conditions through Thursday on the Prairies.
Wind warnings remain in effect across southern Alberta with powerful gusts redeveloping Tuesday afternoon. Drivers are being warned to adjust to the changing conditions, especially with these dangerous "truck toppling" threats. On Wednesday, the next system will cross the Rockies, bringing a more widespread impact across the southern and central Prairies. Wind gusts of 80-100 km/h are expected, combined with widespread snowfall totals of 5-15 cm, with some areas seeing as much as 20-30+ cm, which could compromise travel conditions once again. By late-week, a shot of cooler, near seasonal, weather will hit the eastern Prairies, as a significant pattern change gradually takes hold of western Canada for the second half of January. More on the potentially damaging winds and signs of more wintry weather ahead, below.
- Potentially damaging wind gusts along the foothills through Tuesday, with gusts of 100+ km/h expected,
- Mid-week system brings a swath of accumulating snow, potentially damaging winds for southern and central Prairies on Wednesday and Thursday
- Major pattern reversal on the way, which features much colder weather for Western Canada
TUESDAY: WIND WARNING PERSIST FOR GUSTS OVER 120 KM/H
There will little breathing room for the powerful winds in Alberta, as they begin to subside Tuesday morning, only to ramp up again through the afternoon hours. Wind warnings continue for areas along the foothills, with the threat for peak gusts to reach 120 km/h.
The strongest winds will occur in Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass, with less intense gusts for Lethbridge, where they will be in the 60-80 km/h range. Drivers are being warned to adjust to the changing and difficult travel conditions.
Weather Network reporter Kyle Brittain encountered a transport truck tipping over in front of him, south of Granum, Alta. Tuesday afternoon. The sole occupant was unharmed.
Transport truck TIPPED OVER in front of me not long ago, south of Granum, AB!— Kyle Brittain (@KyleTWN) January 12, 2021
Sole occupant is okay.
Crosswinds have become very intense along this stretch of Hwy 2.#abstorm @weathernetwork pic.twitter.com/uYT4CRLzc4
"Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage. Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions due to high winds," says Environment Canada in the warning.
Winds will then diminish Tuesday night, but strong gusts once again, along with snow, are expected to develop Wednesday with the passage of a potent clipper.
WEDNESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY: SWATH OF SNOW, IMPACTFUL WINDS MAY CAUSE TRICKY TRAVEL
By Wednesday, more widespread impacts are expected across the Prairies as the clipper system spreads a swath of moderate snow.
"The system will develop on the lee of the Rockies on Wednesday morning, with milder and wetter precipitation expected on the southeast side of the system, and snow on the northern and backside of the storm," says Weather Network meteorologist Matt Grinter.
Accumulating snow is expected for parts of the southern and central Prairies through Thursday, with a widespread 5-15 cm of snow likely, and even heavier amounts of 20-30+ cm forecast through the foothills and parts of central Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba.
There's also the chance for a mix of scattered rain showers and potential freezing rain to accompany the system at times.
As well, winds will be strong, potentially damaging, with gusts of 80-100 km/h expected. Winds will intensify during the day Wednesday for southern Alberta and will track east with the clipper. The most intense winds will likely be in the evening across southern Saskatchewan, continuing into Thursday morning.
Winter storm watches and warnings, as well as wind warnings, span Saskatchewan, warning of difficult travel as the winds will whip up blowing snow, likely to cause poor visibilities from whiteout conditions.
COLDER AIR ACCOMPANIES A PATTERN REVERSAL
Behind the system, a shot of cooler, near seasonal, weather is expected for the eastern Prairies late week and into the weekend.
"A much colder pattern develops across the region during mid to late week, next week, gradually turning frigid for the final week of January," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham. "A major pattern reversal is on the way, especially for Western Canada."
Thumbnail courtesy of Kyle Brittain.