Blast of wintry weather sends Prairies into snowy deep freeze
Winter forgot to set its clock back and arrived early in Western Canada on Monday, leaving behind as much as 15 centimetres of snow in Calgary and sending temperatures plummeting from Alberta to Manitoba.
The remnants of Typhoon Nuri over Alaska this weekend led to a chilling effect. It pushed a mass of cold air that normally sits over the North Pole southward, lowering temperatures well below seasonal norms.
“All of a sudden, the system smashed into Alaska…and boy it really shook up the jet stream,” Environment Canada’s senior climatologist, David Phillips, told CTV News Channel Monday.
In Calgary on Monday morning, it was feeling much colder than the -14 C indicated by Environment Canada, as a brisk wind blew through the city.
Just over 11 cm of snow had fallen on the city by morning, and a few more centimetres were expected over the course of the day. The western part of the city had more, with 15 cm of the white stuff on the ground when residents woke up.
A layer of ice underneath the snow made for treacherous driving conditions and led to some road closures throughout the city. Police reported 306 car accidents before midnight on Sunday, CTV Calgary's Jamie Mauracher reported.
"This is a little bit of a shock to the system," Mauracher told CTV News Channel. The snow "came down fast, it came down hard."
Temperatures plummeted to -16 C in Edmonton, where about 6 cm of snow fell. Temperatures plunged to -12 C in Regina, -13 C in Saskatoon and -8 C in Winnipeg.
Frigid temperatures are expected to last until the weekend and will move southward into the United States.
The United States is already bracing for the full force of the Arctic blast. Temperatures will plummet well below their November averages across the country, with Minnesota expecting record-breaking snowfalls.
But Phillips said the blast of cold air should not frighten Canadians.
“The first early cold doesn’t mean we’re in for the long haul,” he said, adding that a mild winter could still be possible in the coming months.