Our stretch of clear, dry weather in southern Manitoba is about to come to an end. In fact, by the time you go to bed Sunday night, there could be a whole lot more snow on the ground.
Natalie Hasell with Environment Canada says this week we will feel the effects of several low-pressure systems. For the Red River Valley, the total accumulation of new snow this week could be 30 centimetres, if not more. Much greater accumulations are anticipated south of the border.
According to Hasell, we should start to see the snow falling overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, when two centimetres are anticipated. Another two to four centimetres is expected on Wednesday.
Hasell says because the 30 centimetres will be stretched over the course of about five days, it is unlikely that any single 12-hour or 24-hour period will see enough to warrant a snowfall warning. However, she notes periods this week will also be windy, which could produce near-blizzard conditions at times.
"Some of the models are suggesting a pretty tight gradient at the same time as the snow is falling," she points out. "So, we could also have visibility reduced in blowing snow."
You can expect a bit of wind Wednesday night and then throughout the day on Thursday.
"But the worst of it really starts to pick up on the weekend," she forecasts. "Saturday during the day looks like the worst time for winds."
But, as the low-pressure moves across the province on Saturday, winds will die down before switching direction and then persisting throughout the day on Sunday.
Meanwhile, though these low-pressure systems will mark the end of our sunny conditions, they will also bring with them warmer weather. In fact, by Thursday we should see temperatures that are back to seasonal values. The normal high for this time of year is -3 degrees.
"So maybe this snow will be a little bit stickier and might not be too much of a blowing snow hazard," suggests Hasell. "But we'll have to see how things line up."
This week's weather is following a trend that has been felt this winter in southern Manitoba. Hasell says it seems that over and over again, we are getting only the tip of a much larger system to the south of us. She explains that is because we have been under the influence of a number of ridges or areas of high pressure that have acted as a blocking system, preventing storms from hitting us, but also bringing cold conditions at the same time.
According to Environment Canada, southern Manitoba typically gets between 25 and 30 per cent of its total snowfall for the winter, after March 1st. Therefore, Hasell says this week's forecast should come as no surprise. She notes March and early April tend to be stormy weeks in southern Manitoba.