Christmas in Saskatchewan set to be stormy due to Alberta Clipper
This last week in the run up to Christmas and the holidays we saw bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills. With the weekend and Christmas Eve just around the corner, a pattern change is imminent.
This will start warm-up for Saskatchewan but will also bring dangerous conditions as an Alberta clipper appears to be forming. Following this storm, we have a week of choppy, albeit warmer, conditions ahead.
But there’s good news, if you wanted to make sure we had a white Christmas, you’re in luck.
Not only that, we want to have what Environment and Climate Change Canada calls the “Perfect Christmas.” This is a place where there is at least an inch of snow on the ground and where there is snow in the air (i.e. falling) at some point on Christmas Day.
We’ll likely have quite a bit of fresh snow on the ground when everyone wakes up from the low on Christmas morning.
Snowfall forecasts for December 24-26 vary across the province, with Weyburn and Estevan topping the list at 18cm. (CTV News)
This Alberta clipper appears to be forming over Alberta this afternoon and will be moving east tonight and overnight. It is also fueled with Pacific moisture. Precipitation starts in the southwest and looks like a wintry mix of snow, freezing rain and rain.
Thereafter, as it moves east, conditions appear more likely to be snowy, but south-central Saskatchewan could also see a wintry mix. Regina will likely only see snow, but there is a risk of more freezing rain from Maple Creek to Assiniboia.
Why? Well, there are a few factors that affect the warmer temperatures in this system. The warm air advection and warm front from the low. As well as some heat from the upper atmosphere. These are very important because of the rain-snow line and the freeze line.
As temperatures rise due to the latest storm system invading the province, freezing rain and ice are a possibility for many in Saskatchewan’s central and southern regions. (CTV News)
We’re likely to see some warm air temperatures above cold surface temperatures, which could bring risk of freezing rain to the southwest and south-centre as this system penetrates. After a week of colder than seasonal temperatures, the ground will still be frozen so any rain or freezing rain will bring frigid and slippery conditions before temperatures hit above freezing in the south west on Boxing Day.
This limit is also important for the totals of precipitation and snowfall. Currently, it looks like areas between Saskatoon and Regina and in the Southeast could see up to 4 to 8 inches of snow.
There will also be wind. It’s Saskatchewan, of course. But gusts could reach up to 90 km/h behind the cold front in the southwest, while the rest of the province will experience gusts of up to 60 or 70 km/h in this storm. This will likely result in blowing snow and reduced visibility.
This Alberta clipper will likely impact travel plans early in the morning of Christmas, so be prepared to change them. However, it’s good to remember that even in this storm, Santa should be fine. He knows how to fly in all conditions.
But if you’re planning on driving through the provinces on Christmas Day, make sure you pack an emergency kit in your car and check the highway hotline before you head out. Also, conditions can change rapidly during this system.
Stay healthy out there and have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!