Strange times in southwest Sask: snow, cold weather, rain and ice pellets fall

·3 min read
A snowy scene just north of Southey, Saskatchewan.  (Reg Lukiwski/Twitter - image credit)
A snowy scene just north of Southey, Saskatchewan. (Reg Lukiwski/Twitter - image credit)

Wintry weather is not over for parts of southwest Saskatchewan.

Throughout Thursday, residents have shared photos on social media showing snowy backyards, and have reported rain, cold conditions and ice pellets.

Environment and Climate Change Canada released a heavy snowfall warning for the southwest part of the province Wednesday and temperatures began approaching winter levels that evening.

Earlier in the week, temperatures hung around 30 C. Now temperatures are expected to go below freezing Friday evening.

Terry Lang, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said this massive swing in temperature is "unusual."

"We don't see it very often, but certainly it's happened in the past. And if it's going to happen, it's going to happen either in the spring or the fall. I had the air conditioning on the other day and I finally had to cave and put the furnace on," said Lang.

So things are weird on the Prairies right now, especially after the Cloverdale wildfire near Prince Albert occupied the news all week and filled the skies with smoke.

In Regina, residents across the city are reporting different types of weather depending on what area they live in. Lang said Environment Canada was expecting this.

"This is one of these weather systems that we do expect to produce a whole bunch of different things. We've actually got thunderstorms in the southeast part of the province," Lang said.

"We knew that the rain/snow boundary was going to be really hard to try to delineate ... Just because the temperatures are so close to freezing."

As of 2 p.m. CST Thursday, Swift Current, Cypress Hills and parts of the Regina area were experiencing snow.

Snow is falling in large doses just north of Southey, Saskatchewan.
Snow is falling in large doses just north of Southey, Saskatchewan. (Reg Lukiwski/Twitter)

Plenty of rain to come

The prairies have one of the highest temperature range variations throughout the year in the world, according to Lang.

"It can get to -40 C in the winter and it can get to 40 C in the summer. So it's a huge range and it's because we're not near any kind of water bodies. What they do is they moderate temperatures. They take off the really high highs and they take off the really low lows," Lang said.

"So because we're not near any water, we're open to all the cold air that comes directly from the Arctic. And we're also exposed to the heat that comes up from the south."

Lang said it will be a while until temperatures venture into 30s territory again. The coming week's forecast calls for plenty of rain. However, the snow should be a thing of the past for most of the southwest by Friday evening.

The only exception may be the far southwest corner of the province. It is currently snowing heavily from there through to Alberta, according to Lang.

"It's going to be a couple more days until we get into some sort of warmer periods that we don't have to worry about frost. But certainly this weekend getting the frost is a definite possibility. So it's not time to put the bedding plants out or plant tomatoes quite yet."

While the weather is certainly odd, Lang said Environment Canada is happy about the moisture.

"I think in whatever form it comes, the farmers really need the moisture. [To] take down that grass fire risk."

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