Brace yourself – snow is in the forecast for southeast Saskatchewan
So far this fall we’ve been lucky to have warm temperatures, just a little light frost and generally pleasant conditions, but things are a bit more unsettled and chilly this week. Today, an incoming Colorado low is set to impact the prairies bringing heavy rainfall to the east and a mixture to the west. And by mixture, I’m talking rain, snow and freezing rain. And the exact amounts in the mix are still a little tricky since this system has a rain-snow boundary that has quite a bit of model variation.
The system in question is a Colorado low that is pushing up from the south bringing quite a bit of precipitation and messy conditions. Currently, the warmer air, higher amounts of moisture and therefore higher amounts of rainfall are positioned over Manitoba on the eastern side of the system. Some areas in southern Manitoba may see up to 50 millimetres of rain. On the western side of the low, through southeast Saskatchewan, colder air looks to be positioned and the chance for snow is higher, mixed with rain and freezing rain.
Why is there such uncertainty with the amount of accumulation? Well, temperatures look to hover around freezing for most of the day, and highs are set to be around 5 degrees Celsius for most communities in southeast Saskatchewan.
So, it is difficult to say for certain exactly where the cold air will position itself over the next couple of days. What this means is that some models are keeping things a few degrees colder and giving higher snowfall amounts as predictions, while other models are predicting mostly rain with next to no snowfall at all. Either way, all models are predicting something falling from the sky.
One thing I will say though is that currently, accumulations don’t look to be as extreme as our southern neighbours. Montana and Colorado had weather warnings including winter storm warnings in effect on Tuesday with some areas expecting to see up to 20 centimetres of snowfall (or 8 inches by the warnings). Meanwhile, here in southeast Saskatchewan, current model runs are pushing out snowfall totals up to 15 centimetres, but they could be higher or lower as well.
If you want a prediction, right now it looks like places like Assiniboia, Rockglen and Moose Jaw are likely to see around 4 to 8 centimetres, but the accumulation could be up to 15 centimetres in some areas, particularly the further west you go. Meanwhile, Regina is most likely to see 1-2 centimetres mixed with 5-10 millimetres of rain but could see up to 3-6 centimetres of snow. Estevan and Weyburn on the other hand may see 1-2 centimetres of snow, but rain looks higher there with up to 30 millimetres possible. But, like I keep saying these numbers are could change as this low pushes in and hangs around until clearing on Friday.
The one thing that is certain with this system is that conditions along the TransCanada are likely to be messy. This means that if you are set to be driving or travelling, give yourself a few extra minutes and drive carefully as conditions can change rapidly including visibility and road condition. Stay safe everyone, fall and winter are just getting started and we’ll see more snow in the coming weeks and months.