A more traditional winter is coming to Winnipeg, but it appears to be waiting until after Sunday’s big game.
The matchup will be the CFL’s latest late-season game ever played in Winnipeg, a city not famous for balmy Decembers.
And while the forecast calls for snow over southern Manitoba Sunday morning, Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips says the skies should clear up by game time at 3 p.m.
“It might linger into the afternoon, but I think by kick-off it might be just flurries, and that’s it,” Phillips told 680 CJOB Thursday.
“My sense is that weather is not going to be a factor.”
The game, a repeat of the battle from 2019 that Winnipeg won 20-13 in Regina, is being played later than usual after the CFL postponed the start of the season due to COVID-19.
It comes as Winnipeg has seen temperatures fluctuating in recent days, something Phillips says should end starting Monday — hopefully long after Sunday’s game is in the books.
He’s calling for temperatures around the -7 C mark — normal for this time of year — on Sunday, meaning fans and players aren’t likely going to need to bundle up too much for the game.
But that’ll change Monday when Environment Canada predicts a high of -21 C for Winnipeg.
“What we’re going to see is the honest weather arriving on Monday with the coldest day of the entire year, so far,” Phillips said.
“But, boy, I think it’s going to be — unless it goes into overtime — I don’t think the air temperatures, the wind-chill, is going to be an issue.”
Lastly, Phillips says his modelling shows moderate winds blowing north to northwest during the game.
“I think choosing the end that you defend, or play with, may be a factor — and I’m sure the coaches have figured that out,” Phillips said, adding fans looking to stay out of the wind should find a seat on the north side of IG Field.
“(But) With 33,000 fans all bundled up in long johns, parkas, toques and balaclavas, cheering and yelling … I don’t think it’ll be that uncomfortable.”
Winnipeg finished first in the West Division and earned a bye into the final after putting up an 11-3 record in the 14-game regular season.
Saskatchewan went 9-5 and beat the Calgary Stampeders 33-30 in overtime in the semifinal.
Sunday’s winner will advance to the Dec. 12 Grey Cup game in Hamilton to meet the victors of the East final between the Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts.
–With files from The Canadian Press