This week the Prairies are a textbook example of how extreme the spring can be, with conditions you could see in all four seasons. Southern areas are seeing mid-summer heat and the risk for severe thunderstorms, while northern sections are on the opposite end of the temperature spectrum -- with single-digit daytime highs and heavy snow. The wild weather is thanks to an amplified pattern building over the region. More on these 30-degree highs, followed by a quick temperature drop and snow threat, below.
TUESDAY: HEAT CLIMBS, RISK FOR SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS EXPANDS
All three Prairie provinces hit 30°C Monday, with Prince Albert, Sask. even potentially setting a new daily record. It reached a preliminary temperature of 32.2°C, surpassing the previous record of 31.7°C from 1901, if confirmed.
The heat will continue Tuesday, with temperatures possibly reaching 30°C again in some areas, mainly in Saskatchewan & Manitoba. This only fuels more concerns about the ongoing drought conditions the region is experiencing.
A similar setup will unfold Tuesday, but there will be a higher threat for a few strong to severe thunderstorms, as a cold front sweeps through the region. This will create an east-to-west contrast between summer-like heat and more typical spring weather.
The afternoon and evening hours is when there could be severe storms developing in southeastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba, bringing the risk for quarter-sized hail, strong winds and localized heavy downpours.
WINTER STORM WATCHES COVER PARTS OF NORTHERN MANITOBA
As daytime highs reach the 30-degree mark across parts of the southern Prairies, much cooler temperatures and Pacific moisture impacted the northern areas, prompting some winter storm watches and a freezing rain warning for parts of the region.
On Tuesday, a developing low will spread another band of heavy snow across northern Manitoba with with rain or freezing rain, and ice pellets occurring to its south. Models indicate a band of freezing rain will develop from Brochet eastward to just south of Churchill, with heavy snow to its north.
Hefty totals of 20-40 cm could accumulate through Wednesday.
In addition to the precipitation, a gusty northeasterly wind up to 70 km/h is expected to develop across northern Manitoba on Tuesday, lingering into Wednesday.
"Avoid travel if possible," warns Environment Canada in the winter storm watch. "Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow."
MID-TO-LATE WEEK: SNOW THREAT CREEPS IN AS TEMPERATURES TAKE A DRAMATIC TUMBLE
On Wednesday some eastern parts of the Prairies will hold on to warmer temperatures, but single-digit highs will be likely for many in Alberta as a strong cold front crosses the region. A few flakes of snow aren't out of the question either, especially for places like Edmonton, as a cold trough digs into the region.
Most of the Prairies will finish the week with cool and unsettled conditions, as cloud cover and rain showers persist and temperatures remain below seasonal under the upper level trough. Quite the wild contrast to the summer-like heat that starts the week, but also an opportunity for some much needed rain for parts of southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba.
There will be a wide range in rainfall totals, with between 25-75+ mm expected through early next week.
Unfortunately, it looks like parts of southern Alberta and into central Saskatchewan, (including Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Swift Current and Saskatoon) will miss out on the beneficial rains, as the storm track will be north and south of this region.
Still, a coating of wet snow is likely for parts of southern Saskatchewan Thursday night and Friday.
Temperatures will begin to recover as we go through the long weekend, with daytime highs in the upper teens to lower 20s expected for parts of the region.
Be sure to check back for the latest updates on the changing spring conditions across the Prairies.