Ag Weather Forum

Bitter Cold, Then Milder in Prairies

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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Average temperatures in the Canadian Prairies are indicated to have a wide swing of around 30 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 10 days. (Penn State graphic by Scott R Kemper)

The first part of March has seen a notable change in the weather pattern features across the Canadian Prairies. After a warm February, with southerly air flow dominant, we have seen at least short-term alteration to a pronounced northerly flow from Siberia across Alaska and then south into the Prairies, continuing toward eastern Canada and the eastern U.S.

This difference in air-mass sourcing has been profound in the resulting temperatures. We have already had several days earlier this week where overnight low temperatures dropped to minus 23 degrees Celsius (minus 10 Fahrenheit). That is likely to continue during the next five days at least. In fact, average temperatures on March 11 are expected to be from 8 to 16 Celsius C (15 to 30 F) below normal. That's the average temperature -- so it's not a stretch to think that more of the bitter-cold conditions for overnight lows are in store.

However, this cold-temperature cloud has a silver lining in that this harsh cold stretch looks to be short-lived. A return to more southerly air flow is expected during the latter half of next week, with the result being temperatures near normal by March 19. That should at least offer some comfort in battling through the cold and accompanying snow. At least all this is happening in March instead of January.

Looking to the last half of March, it does not look like the very-cold pattern will return. In fact, temperature forecasts during the last 10 to 14 days of March look to be running from 1 to 3 degrees Celsius (2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal. That would put a mild finish to the month after the chill of the first week to 10 days.

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