Prairies see substantial blast of warmth since mid-December
Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 12:36 PM - After a hefty winter storm dropped significant (and much needed) snow across the Prairies, a complete 180° is in store for next week as we spring forward both in time and in temperatures. While it won't be t-shirt weather for everyone, some regions may crack the double digits.
Visit our Complete Guide to Spring 2018 for an in depth look at the Spring Forecast, tips to plan for it and much more.
Over the weekend, a ridge in the jet stream will work its way northward over the West Coast, eventually expanding across Alberta and Saskatchewan through early next week.
WHAT'S A RIDGE?
Our jet stream is fueled by contrasting cold and warm air masses in the upper atmosphere, so a ridge is tied to the warmer air aloft with this meandering stream of air. As it builds over the forecast area, this feature will play a big role in who will see the double digit temperatures in the coming days.
ALL ABOUT ELEVATION
Warmer air flowing over the Rockies begins this weekend, but it will meet stubborn, cooler air at the surface. The process of "flushing out" the cold will be a bit of a challenge, as most areas have a noticeable snow pack, keeping temperatures at the surface cooler.
Areas to see the warmth first will be cities in Alberta that are located at higher elevations and with minimal snow on the ground. So if you want to feel Spring, head up!
Imaged above is a temperature profile with height. The red line represents the temperature forecast. At the surface, it is near freezing, but a sharp inversion as you head up about 1500 m leads to temperatures near 10°C. Courtesy: TropicalTidbits
WARMTH SINCE DECEMBER
While large temperature swings aren't abnormal on the Prairies, cracking into the double digits hasn't happened for major cities like Calgary and Edmonton since mid December (you were close, but no cigar).
In parts of Saskatchewan, temperatures above 5° have not occurred since mid December as well for cities like Regina.
Across Manitoba, temperatures will likely hover near or slightly above the freezing mark but double-digit highs seem unlikely next week.
Imaged above are forecast temperatures for Monday. Temperatures may be slightly conservative this far out and a few locations could potentially reach the double digits for western and southern Alberta, especially for areas located at higher elevation.
So if you're aching for another taste of Spring, hopefully you can get outside to enjoy it while it lasts!