March 18, 2019 6:00 am

Spring weather – and spring – will arrive in Winnipeg on Wednesday, says Environment Canada

Spring arrives Wednesday and with it come melting temperatures for the prairies.

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Hang on Winnipeg, we’re almost there.

After a rather brutal season that saw colder-than-average temperatures through most of the winter months, temperatures are about to spike to higher-than-normal temperatures – on the first day of spring.

Temperatures are predicted to hit 6 C on Wednesday and may even hit double digits at 10 C on Thursday, said David Phillips, Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada.

“The first day of spring is one thing, but the first spring day is another,” said Philips.

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“It’s been kind of a long winter, I think it still looks and feels like winter … my sense is, we’ve gotten over the rough spot, even if winter returns.”

Winnipeg saw 55 days during the winter where temperatures stayed below -20 C, said Philips, compared to a usual 52.

READ MORE: North Dakota flood forecast rises, small chance of surpassing 1997 flood levels

The only downside is a faster-than-normal melt increases flood risk across the Red River Valley, said Philips.

“Psychologically, we want to go from slush to sweat, we want to get that outdoor barbecue going and to shed the balaclava and the winter gear, but really what you want [is] warming during the day and melting during the day and freezing at night.”

With the ground still frozen, water that would normally be absorbed instead ends up as run-off.

“There’s still about 39 cm [of snow] sitting on the ground and that has gone down maybe four or five in the past two-and-a-half weeks, so you haven’t got rid of much of it.”

Water from the Red River Basin in North Dakota ends up in the Red River, which flows north into Manitoba. While the floodway will protect Winnipeg, flood forecasters and engineers have told Global News it’s likely the floodwaters will rise outside the city and probably result in the shutdown of Hwy 75.

US flood forecasters upped their flood forecast numbers Friday after two major snowstorms in a week dumped up to 40 mm of precipitation on the Red River Valley south of the border.

WATCH: Manitoba flood forecast warns of potential ice jams

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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