Here’s why Sask. will likely see a cool start to spring


SASKATOON-

Saskatchewan will see a slow progression to more seasonal temperatures this week – but they’re likely to remain cooler than normal well into spring.

Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, told CTV News that two-week, four-week and three-month forecasts all predict below-normal temperatures.

“It doesn’t mean that temperatures will be below normal every day, it just means a lot of variability and probably tallying at the end of that time, to overall below normal.”

The cool weather in Saskatchewan is caused by the current cold phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation, known as La Nina.

“Typically, when you have a strong La Nina — so, cold in the equatorial Pacific — you get cold in the Prairies, especially in the more western areas.

“We are in that right now, we’ve certainly seen a lot of colder days this winter and even starting last fall. And in between those very cold days, we’ve had a number of storms go through, so some parts of the Prairies have a decent amount of snow.”

In turn, heavy snowfall can delay temperatures warming up, since it takes a lot of solar energy to melt the snow, she said.

Hasell noted that while the weather is warming, winter isn’t over yet.

“As we get into later this month, and then parts of April, we do start to see melting, but will often be in a freeze-thaw cycle. So anything that melts refreezes, and that generally slows things down, as well. And makes road conditions particularly bad.

“Even on nice days, road conditions could be quite difficult. So it’s really important for everyone to pay attention to weather conditions, road conditions, what’s happening around you and how other people are behaving.”

People should have emergency kits in their homes and be careful while driving – she said people should stay in their cars if stranded during a winter storm unless they know they can reach a destination on foot within a minute or two.

The official first day of spring is March 20.


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