Late April snow unwelcome, but not unheard of

Jason Kerr
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The snow doesn’t seem to want to leave Prince Albert this year, but according to Environment Canada that’s not entirely out of the ordinary.

Environment Canada meteorologist Natalie Hasell says Prince Albert is seeing more snow than normal this late in the year, but it’s nothing that hasn’t happened before.

“The fact that we’re almost at the end of April and it’s still kind of snowing is not that unusual,” Hasell says.  “On average May can get like 3 cm worth of snow.  You are getting more than you would normally see, I expect, for April.”

Typically the Prince Albert area will see around 10-11 cm of snow in April.  This year the city has seen double that amount.  In total 22 cm of snow fell, with 9.4 cm coming on April 18 alone.

“It’s discouraging to still be in these conditions and watching the radar over Prince Albert and nearby areas,” Hasell says.  “We’ve certainly seen a very persistent pattern of snow, maybe mixed with rain in a few spots, melting snow maybe, in your area.”

While the snowfall can’t be considered totally abnormal the same cannot be said for the temperature.  The average high for Prince Albert has been almost four degrees Celsius, while the low comes in at minus seven.

Despite the below average temperatures, Hasell says she isn’t surprised.  Unusually cold winters, like Prince Albert experienced recently, often lead to a colder than normal spring.

“It’s not what we would normally expect you to see at this time of year, but based on how things have been going and the current synoptic picture it is not surprising that we are looking at colder than normal temperatures,” she says.

Prince Albert residents may be tired of hearing about bad weather, but Hasell says it’s very important to pay attention to it at this time of year.  Highway conditions can often change quickly, she says, as melted snow quickly turns to ice overnight.

“Sunset or sunrise, that’s when temperatures can change really quickly and road temperatures can also change really quickly,” she says.  “You’ve got snow that might be melting on contact, but with temperatures below zero they might freeze again and if you’re not paying attention you might not expect it.”

The snow is unwelcome, but Hasell says it’s not unheard of.  She does expect things to get warmer over the next week, giving everyone something to look forward to.

“By the time we get to mid-May we’re pretty much done with (winter), so if we’re still talking about snow in mid-May something is terribly wrong.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, Environment Canada

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