Ag Weather Forum

Strong Cold Wave Ahead for Prairies

Joel Burgio
By  Joel Burgio , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
A cold air pattern has the Canadian Prairies in its sights during the mid-October time frame. (DTN graphic)

The Canadian Prairies region has a wild finish to the week. Very cold air continues to move eastward, while at the same time a storm is forming in the U.S. with its sights on Manitoba and Ontario. This area is expected to see heavy precipitation through the end of the week. This will take the form of heavy snow, mixed rain and snow, and at the eastern extremities, heavy rain. Winds are also expected to become very strong, especially in the Manitoba, Friday and Friday night. Blizzard conditions are likely with the combination of heavy snow and strong winds. Harvest will be stymied.

The forecast for the early part of the week, Sunday, October 13 and Monday, October 14, may feature a little light precipitation moving across the region. It is likely to be drier Tuesday through Thursday of next week, with some precipitation developing Friday-Saturday, October 18-19. The temperatures will average well below normal for most of this period, especially factoring in the effect of recent significant snow cover. Very late in the period, it may be somewhat warmer. Prospects for much-below-normal temperatures during the next seven days are weighted towards the beginning of the week, and also enhanced in southeast areas due to heavy snow cover.

The longer-range outlook, Monday, October 21 through Friday, October 25, shows what could be a continued quieter pattern for the area in terms of precipitation and temperatures. So, the pattern during both the 6-10 day period and the 11-15 day period may allow for gradually improving conditions for harvest through the eastern Prairies. A problem with this forecast is that the indications a week ago, October 3, did not point to the major storm that is currently moving into Manitoba. This is likely due to a strong trough position over the Gulf of Alaska. This trough continues to send disturbances into western Canada. Most of these are weak; however, occasionally, one of these disturbances deepens and slows down. This is what occurred this week. So far, these intensifying features have not been picked up by the forecast models much more than 6 or 7 days in advance. This means that a call for quieter and less-stormy conditions over the Prairies during the next two weeks cannot be made with high confidence.

Joel Burgio



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