Thursday, April 21, 2022, 8:17 p.m. – A developing storm will bring heavy snowfall, blizzard conditions and torrential rain to the eastern Prairies throughout this weekend.
We are on the cusp of a high impact storm hitting the eastern Prairies. The system will bring heavy snowfall, high winds, heavy downpours and maybe even a few thunderstorms. Winter storm watches are already in effect for parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba ahead of the storm’s arrival on Friday. More on what to expect in the days ahead, below.
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This storm won’t have the exact same impacts as last week’s big blizzard, but you’d be forgiven if you thought you’d seen this forecast before.
Some areas that are still recovering from one of the ‘worst’ blizzards in recent memory could be rebuilt this weekend as forecasters expect a strengthening Colorado low to reach the eastern Meadows in time for the weekend.
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The dynamics involved in this system are impressive. A few hundred kilometers separate 30°C of temperature and more than 30 cm of snow. Watch the animation below to see how the storm will progress through the region throughout this weekend.
Conditions will begin to deteriorate in the second half of Friday as the low pressure system enters the northern plains and precipitation begins to spread north across the border. The system will move through Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario throughout Saturday, lingering in the first half of Sunday.
Cold air will keep mostly snowy precipitation types on the north and west side of the system, while milder air wrapping in the storm from the south is expected to keep communities on the east side of the storm rainy and, at times, in alert for some thunder rumbles.
The low pressure system appears to be heading a little further west than last week’s blizzard, which should hold most of the snow west of Winnipeg.
A wide band of 30-50cm snow could fall locally, with some isolated areas expected nearby 70cm. The band of snow will be much narrower than what we saw with last week’s storm, with the largest impacts confined to southeast Saskatchewan, southwest Manitoba and parts of the lakes in the Manitoba.
This incoming storm will be a major wind producer. Multi-day blizzard conditions with last week’s storm left roads and schools closed for days.
Gusts of 70 to 90 km/h will cause severely reduced visibility and blizzard conditions in some places, again making travel dangerous, especially in areas that receive the most snow.
Strong winds along the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border will create blizzard-like conditions at times on Saturday and Sunday, and travel along the Trans-Canada Highway between Brandon and Regina will not be recommended.
Warmer air on the eastern side of the system will bring a period of heavy downpours to parts of southeastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, including Winnipeg and Thunder Bay.
Forecasters are watching for the possibility that heavy rains could lead to flooding in some areas. That was less of a threat with last week’s storm as sub-freezing temperatures kept the onslaught of runoff to manageable levels.
With 30 to 60 mm of rain and thunderstorms forecast to target the Red River Basin, and precipitation in the region at 150 to 200 percent of normal over the past 30 days, there is growing concern that the Areas along the Red River do experience minor to moderate flooding from the United States into southern Manitoba.
Temperatures following the system are also expected to be above freezing for most of next week.
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The rain could turn into a snowy spell on Sunday as cold air winds up behind the departing storm. This brief snow flurry could lead to minor accumulations in the Winnipeg Metro.
Going forward, calmer conditions should prevail as we approach next week. Temperatures will remain significantly below seasonal into next week, with the potential for a warming trend as we head into the end of the month.
Check back frequently for the latest details on this major storm heading east across the Prairies.