Although Alberta and Saskatchewan are enjoying some mild weather going into the weekend, residents there should be ready for that to change abruptly as cold Arctic air ushers in winter conditions starting Saturday night.
Sunny, warm weather is expected to continue through Saturday, with the hot-spot in southern Alberta getting up to around 20°C. However, clouds will start gathering as the day progresses and nighttime temperatures are expected to drop down to near freezing as Arctic air slips over the region. Snow is expected to start falling in central Alberta early Sunday morning, and should spread south and to the east through the day.
Environment Canada has issued snowfall and weather warnings across southern and central Alberta. Regions of the province in the southwest and along the foothills can expect between 10 and 15 centimetres of snow by the end of the day on Sunday, with up to 20 cm possible in some areas. Regions to the north and east, from Grande Prairie, through Red Deer and down to Medicine Hat will see slightly less, between 5 and 10 cm. Forecasts are calling for this snow to spread into southern Saskatchewan as well, where it may show up as wet flurries or a mix of rain and snow.
This bout of wintry weather follows a fairly pleasant week of normal to above-average temperatures for this time of year. The mercury actually got up into the 20s through most of central and southern Alberta on Thursday, apparently even setting a few records in Grande Prairie, Jasper, Peace River and Edson for the day.
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Residents of Alberta and Saskatchewan are no strangers to this kind of weather, so temperatures near freezing and snow, even up to 20 cm, aren't likely to phase anyone who lives there.
Still, if anyone has any outdoor activities planned for the next few days, it might be a good idea to wait until things warm up again later in the week. For now, though, break out the shovels and winter clothes, and be careful on the roads.
(Photo courtesy: Emma Bennett/Canadian Press)
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