Cold snap welcomes first days of spring

Lisa Goudy
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A red leaf sits partially underneath the ice in Crescent Park as it snows on March 20, 2014, the first day of spring.

Temperatures for the next few days will be “very unseasonably cold,” according to John Paul Cragg, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“The first of March was the coldest night of the year and now we’re in the beginning of spring and we’re dropping off to -22 (Celsius),” he said. “The change of seasons haven’t presented themselves in a kind way.”

He estimated as much as 5 centimeters (cm) will fall between the first day of spring, which was on Thursday, and early Friday morning. However, he expected the system to calm down overnight Thursday.

“In behind the system that’s passing across the province, really cold Arctic air is being dragged in,” said Cragg. “It’s quite cold.”

Forecasts for Moose Jaw on Friday are lows of -21 C and -19 C for Saturday and Sunday. It’s not until March 26 before temperatures will return closer to zero.

“It’s going to depend on how much sun is in the sky. We’ve got some patches of grass showing up here in Saskatoon. I’m sure you do in Moose Jaw as well and as soon as that snow starts to melt, the sun can start to warm up the patches of ground,” said Cragg. “It makes a huge difference in the temperatures. The snow reflects a lot of the light and the sun’s getting pretty high now in the sky and it’s up there for a really long time.

“It can really warm the ground when it’s out, but if there’s a lot of snow, all that energy from the sun is being reflected out into space. As soon as there’s ground, it starts absorbing a lot of that energy and you can start getting those temperatures warm up quite a bit more.”

From March 26 to April 1 or even the first week of April, temperatures will still be colder than normal, just not as cold as the next several days. Normal temperatures for April 1 have a high of 6 C and a low of - 6 C.

Moose Jaw and other areas of Saskatchewan also received some freezing rain Thursday morning.

“It looks like that’s over … the roads were pretty slick this morning, but temperatures … that’s probably allowing some of that freezing rain to melt on the roadways and making conditions a little bit better. We are not expecting more freezing rain.”

Conditions could always be worse, however. On Thursday, Cypress Hills had a snowfall warning for between 10 and 15 cm.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Arctic, Saskatoon Saskatchewan

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