Freezing rain made for hazardous travel conditions in central Alberta on Thursday as a clipper system spread wintry precipitation over the Prairies. The threat for freezing rain will move into Saskatchewan through the afternoon hours, potentially leading to more hazardous travel around Saskatoon and Regina. Heavy snow will arrive on the southern Prairies overnight into Friday. More on this wintry storm and beyond, below.
THURSDAY: FREEZING RAIN SPREADS ACROSS CENTRAL PRAIRIES
A sharp temperature contrast between the southern Prairies and the northern Prairies set the stage for a mix of wintry precipitation across the region that began early Thursday morning and will continue through the day.
Warm air aloft creeping over subfreezing air at the surface led to a period of freezing rain along and near the Yellowhead. Multiple accidents were reported around Edmonton on Thursday morning as the roads iced over. “Between 6 and 9 a.m. Thursday, 30 collisions were reported to the Edmonton Police Service,” CBC News reported on Thursday morning.
Freezing rain will spread into central Saskatchewan through Thursday afternoon. The risk for accreting ice will largely follow along and south of Highway 11 between Saskatoon and Regina, with a glaze of ice possible within each city’s metro areas.
Even a thin glaze of ice can be dangerous for pedestrians and motorists. Use caution while walking or driving in the affected areas, and allow yourself plenty of time to safely arrive at your destination.
As the low-pressure system moves southeast through the day on Thursday, cold air will eventually win out and allow freezing rain to change over to snow for some areas. We’ll generally see less than 5 cm of snow north of Edmonton, with slightly higher totals possible farther west between Hinton and Grand Prairie.
Folks in central Saskatchewan will generally see around 5-10 cm of snow from this system, with higher totals toward Regina and the southeastern corner of the province. Regina could notch close to 10 cm through Friday morning, with 10-20 cm possible between Regina and Brandon, Manitoba.
WATCH NOW: THE SCIENCE BEHIND HOW FREEZING RAIN FORMS
FRIDAY AND BEYOND: THAW CONTINUES, ACTIVE PATTERN INTO NEXT WEEK
Above-seasonal temperatures are likely to continue across the western and central Prairies through this weekend. Friday night’s predicted low temperature of -3°C in Calgary is significantly warmer than the city’s typical low of about -12°C for the middle of January.
We could see several systems move across parts of the Prairies through next week. Temperatures will fall back on the colder side heading into the latter half of the month.
With files from CBC News.
Thumbnail courtesy of Neil Wilson.
Check back for the latest forecast across the Prairies.