City gets less snow than expected

Keely Dakin
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While early Thursday morning there was a prediction for several more centimetres of snow, only minor flurries fell throughout the day.

Wayne Kleemola does his part to keep downtown’s storefront sidewalks clear of our most recent dump from Father Winter on Thursday afternoon. His wife, Liza Austria, owns P.A. Asian Food Store, which caters to the needs of not only the city’s Pilipino residents but many other minority groups as well, including Latinos, Africans and East Indians.

“The current weather situation you guys are in is mostly over,” said John Paul Cragg, Saskatchewan’s warning preparedness meteorologist.

“We were thinking you were gonna receive (more) during the day today, sort of dying out in the afternoon, but it has moved out a little bit quicker and you’ve received less than expected,” Cragg said.

Between seven to 10 centimetres fell during the night and into the morning, despite temperatures reaching far below – 20 C.

While some people follow the adage that snow will not fall in cold temperatures that is inaccurate, explained Cragg.

“What you need is a temperature gradient. So it doesn’t really matter what temperature it is.”

The myth is born because really cold air masses usually creates an area of high pressure and when that moves in it is a very uniform temperature all the way across the provinces.

“In that case when you have high pressure of a uniform temperature you usually don’t get systems moving through,” Cragg said.

However that uniform temperature doesn’t always occur.

“You can still have temperature gradient, when it’s really cold in one region and just a little bit less cold in another, so you can get systems passing through even if it’s really, really cold, as long as the temperature exists. That temperature gradient is the fuel that a system needs,” Cragg said.

The weather system that brought Prince Albert snow on Wednesday night and Thursday morning is what is referred to as an Alberta Clipper.

Two of the major weather systems that go through Saskatchewan during the winter months are Alberta Clippers, which form in Alberta and Colorado Lows, which form over Colorado, U.S.A.

The Colorado Lows are usually more intense and longer lasting but are also the less common system to sweep across the province.

“An Alberta Clipper usually moves fairly quickly. It brings strong winds but they don’t last as long and intense snowfalls, usually north of the system, but over a smaller area than a Colorado Low,” Cragg said.

Prince Albert’s predicted weather this winter was fairly average for both snowfall and temperature.  

“The normal daily average temperature for Prince Albert is -19 … an average of the daytime highs and the daytime lows … now if we look at Prince Albert to date, the average temperature has been -15.9 C compared to -19.1 C.”

“So January hasn’t been a desperately cold month, so far in P.A.,” Cragg said.

Cragg said that predictions for the upcoming 30 days are also normal.

“The Jan. 16 to Feb. 15 outlook for temperatures is showing Prince Albert right on the line between below normal and normal temperatures,” he said.

That means – 19.1 for the rest of January and – 14.6 C for February.

“For February we’re looking at a daily maximum of – 8 C and a daily minimum of around – 21 C,” he said.

There is always space for in meteorology for a seasonal surprise however.

“These temperatures can really fluctuate. In 1986 on Feb. 25 Prince Albert got down to – 46.1 C,” he said.

Friday is supposed to bring sun and the weekend is forecast for slightly warmer temperatures.

In order to facilitate quick clean up of the city’s roads, a parking ban is in effect as of Thursday morning at 8 a.m. and will continue for the normal 72 hours unless otherwise posted.

Parking is prohibited on Snow Routes when a Snow Route Parking Ban is declared and a snow route sign marks those roads.

Sgt. Paul Dawson from the RCMP warned motorists to travel cautiously on Thursday and they suggest drivers check online for further information on road conditions.



Organizations: Prince Albert, Alberta Clippers, RCMP

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Colorado, Alberta

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