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Alberta | Winter's grip

April showers - of snow - for southern Alberta, bitter cold

Digital writers

Monday, April 2, 2018, 10:27 AM - Do they still count as 'April showers' if they're falling as snow? That's the question we'll have to answer for parts of Alberta and B.C. this week.

A low pressure system developing over the U.S. central Plains, fueled by moisture making its way over the Rockies from B.C., will lead to another round of upslope snow for the southern tier of the provinces through Monday. And even once that precipitation moves out, we're still looking at some bitter chill for the province, as winter proves stubborn for the first week of April. We take a look at the chilly start to the new month, below.

When does it warm up in Alberta? | Take a look at our exclusive 2018 Spring Forecast

Weather Highlights:

  • Snow winds down late Monday morning for B.C.; 10 to 20 cm expected over the Kootenays
  • Snow tapers off Monday afternoon for Alberta Foothills; up to 15 cm expected, particularly in the southwest
  • Chilly temperatures prevail through at least first week of April - highs and lows up to 10 degrees below average

Watch below: Timing early-week snow

Upslope snow for back to work

While the brunt of the storm brewing over the U.S. Plains will be felt south of the border and further east, Alberta won't entirely escape its impact, as low pressure to the south of the province shifts winds to be out of the east; heading up into the Foothills. Combine this upslope flow with some moisture moving over the Rockies from B.C. and you've got the recipe for some upslope-enhanced snowfall through Monday.

Bitter cold hangs on

While snow should be more or less over late Monday afternoon, the same can't be said for the unseasonably cold temperatures, which look to hang on through the first week of April across the Prairies as Arctic high pressure sinks down from the north.

The map below shows the forecast temperature anomalies (departure above or below average temperatures) for Tuesday morning across the country. As the deep purples show, the Prairie provinces will be waking up to temperatures a brisk 15 to 20 degrees below normal for the first days of April.

Forecast temperatures anomaly from the GFS model for early Tuesday. Image courtesy WeatherBell.

In fact, it looks like another week of wintry weather for Alberta, as highs and lows run up to 10 C below normal until next weekend. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however, when we look into the longer range. Early indications are that spring may finally start to break through going into the second week of April - at least over southern Alberta - as temperatures start to rebound thanks to an eastward shift of the chilly high pressure from the north.

That said, it might not be time to hang up the winter coat for the year quite yet; the prevailing pattern keeping much of Canada on the chilly side doesn't seem likely to shift until at least mid-month.

Must see: Lynx group in Alberta taking advantage of extended winter

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