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PRAIRIES | Frigid temperatures

Icy chill grips Prairies this week, temperatures plunge

Digital writers

Tuesday, December 4, 2018, 12:40 PM - Brace yourselves: the blast of Arctic air coming to the Prairies will have you reaching for the extra fluffy scarf and thick coat before the week is out. High temperatures in the minus double digits with biting wind chills will spread across the region through late week as high pressure sinks south -- and brings some very cold air along for the ride. There's better news on the horizon for those who aren't fans of the freeze, however. A pattern shift coming as we head into the weekend will mean a BIG differences by the time next week rolls around. We take a look at who can expect the -30 wind chills, and when the warmer air returns, below.

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  • Bitterly cold air descends into Prairies through mid-week
  • Highs in the minus double digits for many, wind chills in the -30s possible
  • Much milder pattern shift drives temperatures up again into next week


While the Prairies are looking at a fairly quiet week weather-wise, flurries and ice crystals aren't out of the question as some of the coldest air of the season so far -- and possibly the coldest we'll see before the New Year -- settles over the region through mid-week.

"High temperatures are expected to be in the minus double digits for most of the Prairies," says Weather Network meteorologist Nadine Hinds-Powell, "with wind chills in the -20s." The cold will be worse as you move east away from the Rockies, particularly by Thursday when the core of the coldest air sinks into the eastern Prairies. While highs in southern Alberta may creep up close to the freezing mark, they'll range from -10 to -20 further north and east, averaging roughly 10 degrees below seasonal.

Overnight lows will be especially bitter by Thursday, with temperatures dipping to near -25C, and wind chills in the minus 30s likely for much of Manitoba, including Winnipeg. 


While Friday will see the worst of the cold start to ease, temperatures jump all the way back up to seasonal -- and even above -- as we head into the weekend. As the high shifts east, westerly flow from the Pacific returns, flooding the Prairies with considerably milder air. By Saturday, high temperatures will feel about 10 degrees warmer for most spots in Saskatchewan and Manitoba; some highs will be on their way into the single digits on the positive side of the scale as we move into the new week.


That milder trend seems set to continue into the early part of next week, as weather activity picks up once again along the coast, and a series of low pressure systems crash into British Columbia. Much of the moisture associated with these will rain (or snow) itself out over B.C., meaning while the Prairies benefit from the warmth flowing in from the west, it won't be accompanied by much in the way of precipitation.

"Much milder Pacific air will spread from west to east across the country for next week," says Dr. Doug Gillham, another Weather Network meteorologist, "with a mild pattern expected across most of Canada through mid-December." That may sound like good news if you're not looking forward to a long winter, but could compromise some Canadians' chances for a white Christmas.


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