Sask. bracing for the first blast of winter
The southwest could see up to 10 cm of snow on Friday
It's the tale of two winter storms hitting Saskatchewan this week.
The first wave of snow started in the northeast section of the province on Friday, Oct. 10. It all started when a low pressure system slide down from Nunavut. Over the last week it has produced several centimetres of snow in areas like Uranium City.
That snowfall will only get stronger through Friday into Saturday, with an expected five cm Friday, another five to 10 cm overnight and another five to 15 cm on Saturday. Temperatures will also be well below seasonal, with a daytime high of only -3 C for Saturday, when seasonal is usually 3 C.
The long-range forecast for the north is for the snow to continue throughout the weekend and finally taper off Sunday afternoon. Sunday will also be the warmest day of the 7-day forecast, with a daytime high of 0 C.
First blast of wintery snow
In the southwest, a winter storm will be passing through starting Friday into the early hours of Saturday. A low pressure system started to build steam in the Rockies earlier in the week and it is slowly making its way to southwestern Saskatchewan.
On Thursday, Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a "Special Weather Statement" for the southwest corner of the province indicating that the snow would be mixed at times with rain and will cut a line from roughly Kindersley to Oxbow. The snow will make its way eastward across the province throughout the day, even including Regina. A mix of snow and rain will be seen in Regina by supper time and should drop off near midnight.
Total snowfall accumulations will be in the five to 10 cm range in the southwest. For areas like Swift Current, totals will be two to four cm during the day and another two to four cm overnight. The hardest hit areas will be from Piapot through Shaunavon to Rockglen and the upper levels of the Cypress Hills.
This week winds across the province consistently came from the northwest and at times gusted to more than 70 km/hr. For Friday, the wind will ease up and be NW 20 gusting 40 km/hr turning to a light wind overnight. However, on Saturday the winds will return from the northwest, gusting 30 up to 50 km/hr.
Temperatures in the area will also be well below seasonal over the weekend. When this low pressure system moves to the south, a much cooler air mass will be over the southwest and grain-belt areas, with temperatures dipping to around -10 C to -15 C in the southwest corner. With windchill it will feel closer to -17 C to -19 C.
Temperatures should begin to return to closer to normal by Tuesday, but will still be below seasonal. Looking toward mid-week, temperatures begin rising above freezing, but not anywhere near the double-digit mark it should be at this time of year.
Extra caution when travelling
A reminder that if you do plan on travelling in the next 24 to 36 hours, roads may become slippery and there could be reduced visibility at times. As of noon on Friday, winter driving conditions were already a concern in the southwest corner of the province.
Check with the Saskatchewan Highways Hotline before planning your trip.