Sask. cold snap bringing below seasonal temperatures, snow
Hey there warm temperatures, where are you going? You’ve spoiled us by sticking around and giving us a lovely fall and start to meteorological winter, and now you’re leaving? Oh well, I guess you couldn’t stay forever or even ring in 2022 or the start of astronomical winter… sigh!
But on the bright side, it’s always nice to have a little bit of cold and snow for the holidays. And we are approaching winter after all, we should expect some colder days.
Here’s the deal, the warmer than seasonal temperatures look to have left the province for the remainder of 2021, and now colder conditions are likely to persist. This means it is time to break out the parkas, the boots and the layers. You are going to need them.
So what’s the weather maker here? Well, we have to look to the upper atmosphere for that explanation. It is plunging cold air south over the prairies and keeping it locked in.
Currently, we look to have a blocking pattern in our upper atmosphere as a ridge stays over Alaska and a ridge lingers over Greenland, meaning in the middle, the Jetstream is plunging south bringing the cold artic air with it. And there looks to be a pretty good source of cold air behind that into the longer-term and so it seems likely that the second half of December will be filled with below seasonal temperatures.
Now to put this cold snap into perspective – Regina this time of year should have highs around -8 degrees Celsius, and on Thursday and Friday, we expect a high of -18 in the city. Additionally, throughout southern Saskatchewan we look to have wind chills approach the -40 mark on Thursday and Friday if the winds stay breezy, as they are expected to.
Meanwhile, as you head further north in the province temperatures slide towards highs in the -30s with wind chills even colder. So, at these cold temperatures, we start to approach extreme cold warning criteria. In Saskatchewan that is temperatures or wind chills below -45 degrees Celsius for the northern part of the province and -40 for the south (for at least two hours).
When temperatures get that cold, skin can freeze in just minutes and you have a higher risk for things like frostbite and hypothermia. Yes, extreme cold warnings mean dangerous cold.
It’s not all going to be clear cold skies either. We have multiple systems moving through this week that look to bring some snow and wintery conditions. This means for those travelling ahead of the holidays may have to worry about winter driving. This means that you need to bring your jackets and boots with you, and always have an emergency kit on hand if you get stuck in the snow and cold. Some great things to throw in your car are cat litter (for traction), water, food, a candle and other emergency supplies.
Stay safe, and stay warm out there!