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Spring takes a pause on the Prairies as temperature drop brings snow

Sunday, April 18th 2021, 8:08 am - Daytime highs will drop by as much as 20 degrees in Calgary, which will go from Saturday's balmy 20°C to sitting around the freezing mark Sunday.

The astounding late spring-like warmth seen across the Prairies in recent days is all but a memory with the weekend coming to an end. A potent cold continues to wipe away the mild temperatures Sunday as it slumps southward. In addition to plummeting temperatures -- by as much as 20 degrees in Calgary in a 24-hour period -- a burst of heavy snowfall and gusty northerly winds will trek through. Snowfall warnings are in effect for areas along the foothills in Alberta. A closer look, below.


Calgary climbed to 20°C and Edmonton 18°C on Saturday as daytime highs, but now the late-spring warmth has all but disappeared, thanks to a cold front swinging through Sunday. As the system sinks further south, with the much cooler air, bursts of snow will develop.

In fact, flurries have already set up across Edmonton Sunday morning. A band of snow is expected to push into Red Deer, Calgary and eventually further south by the afternoon hours.

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Snowfall amounts will be highly terrain-driven with upslope enhancement -- giving way to locally heavy accumulations along the Rockies and southern foothills. 15-20 cm is possible in these regions. Areas along Highway 2, however, are likely to get closer to 5 cm, but areas just a few kilometres west could get amounts in the 5-10 cm range. Snowfall warnings are in place for areas along Alberta's foothills.


After the passage of the system, winds will increase and switch to a north-northwest direction. The Prairies can expect 50-60 km/h, possibly hitting 70 km/h in southern Manitoba, delivering a chilly air mass to the region.

Temperatures take a considerable nosedive Sunday, compared to Saturday, dropping by as much as 20 degrees in Calgary -- only reaching the freezing mark.


Overnight lows will drop into the minus single digits, accompanied by wind chills, but a gradual warmup is looming. Temperatures recover and climb to several degrees above seasonal by mid-week with plenty of sunshine.


The chilly weather will persist into early next week, as well, before slowly giving way to milder conditions by mid-week.


Although no major storms are in sight, some additional shots of cooler and unsettled weather are possible for the final week of April.

Thumbnail courtesy of David Fitzpatrick, taken in Swan Hills, Alta.

Be sure to check back for updates on this Prairie pattern change.

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