Summertime temperatures had quite the encore in Manitoba – but it’s time for the final curtain call.
The province’s first major winter storm of the 2021-2022 season is approaching, and carrying with it the ability to blanket the province in snow.
One last day of above-seasonal conditions on Tuesday is expected to give way to cloud cover overnight, then rain and perhaps snow on Wednesday and Thursday.
“My gosh. Usually the first winter storm could be at the end of September or early October,” David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told 680 CJOB on Tuesday.
“This is a system that bombed Vancouver over the weekend. It came over the Rockies, is going to develop today into an Alberta clipper, and it’s going to race across the Prairies.”
Yet Manitoba may see the most precipitation of the prairie provinces, according to Phillips, because it’ll be over the province when it merges with a “Texas low,” which brings with it much more moisture.
By Friday morning, Environment Canada is predicting 25 centimetres of snow could fall over much of that region. Higher elevation areas, such as Riding Mountain National Park, could see closer to 50 cm.
“Those Manitoba lakes are like hot tubs out there — and there’s going to be some local, ‘lake effect’ snow,” Phillips said.
“It depends upon the timing. We already know winter (will be) shorter this year, but I think we’re going to see significant snow.”
The abrupt shift from temperatures in the low-teens to a wallop of snow could make for some messy conditions, especially on the province’s roads.
“That snow will be assaulted by the warm ground, so you may not see as much accumulate as really falls,” Phillips said.
“Locally, (Manitobans could see) blowing snow … because of the energy of this system. That makes driving treacherous.”
Manitoba Public Insurance spokesperson Brian Smiley says drivers need to adjust to the weather, adding the insurer inevitably sees an uptick in claims following a bad storm.
“It’s very important — drive to road conditions,” he said.
“The speed limit is set for ideal driving conditions, and I think we would all agree that blowing snow, heavy snow, slush, ice are far from ideal.”
Just as multiple temperature records were broken this fall, Phillips said a snowfall record may be surpassed on Remembrance Day. Manitoba’s current record was 9 cm back in 1985.
If you’re not a fan of the winter weather, Phillips said there’s a silver lining for you.
“It’s not as if winter’s going to arrive with a big bang. It’s almost as if temperatures are not going to be as pleasant as they’ve been, but somewhere more seasonal – highs of 0 C, lows of -8 C,” he said.