The Prairies were treated to a much-deserved glimpse of summer-like weather this week, but the warmth is on its way out as much cooler air is set send temperatures plummeting in the coming days. Beforehand, the eastern Prairies will see a threat for severe weather Saturday, including a very conditional chance of rotating storms as thunderstorm season kicks off with a sneak preview. Mother’s Day could also see some storms fire up, only to be followed by wet flurries in Alberta as temperatures take a dive. More on the storm threats and what else to expect this weekend, below.
SATURDAY: LINGERING WARMTH GREETED BY SEVERE STORM THREAT, CONDITIONAL RISK FOR ROTATING STORMS
There has only been one severe thunderstorm warning in southeastern Manitoba this year, arising on April 23 — the only one that has been issued in Canada so far, in fact. But that is likely to change as there is the risk for severe thunderstorms Saturday.
A severe weather threat is setting up across southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba for the afternoon and evening hours. Severe thunderstorm watches have been issued for the aforementioned regions. The recent intense warm-up has increased our thunderstorm energy to potentially produce stronger storms and larger hail, but the threat doesn’t stop there.
The centre of the low has pushed north and west, pulling the regions at risk of seeing severe thunderstorms develop with it.
Dynamics of strong winds aloft and at the surface may also support a threat for supercells in extreme southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba. Areas from Wynyard and Estevan, Sask., to Melita and Winkler, Man., will be under the gun in the early evening for this risk.
People in these regions should plan for staying indoors as there is a non-zero tornado threat. However, it is a very conditional chance that all depends on the timing of the storm development.
The other possible hazards with any storm that becomes severe will be strong wind gusts and large hail. Meanwhile, a general threat for non-severe storms will stretch from southern Alberta to northern areas of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Saturday will see the cooldown reach Saskatchewan, with temperatures dipping down to the mid-teens, while the lingering warmth remains in southern Manitoba where daytime highs remain in the low 20s.
SUNDAY AND BEYOND: STORM RISK EASES, RETURN OF SNOW?
Sticking with what is reality for Alberta in spring thus far, we’re talking about the risk for thunderstorms in southern sections this weekend, with snow in the foothills and northern Alberta.
On Mother’s Day, the thunderstorm threat will remain in play Sunday across the southern Prairies, though any that do develop should remain below severe criteria. They could still bring small hail and strong wind gusts.
However, come Sunday night into Monday, those thunderstorms in southern Alberta will be replaced with wet flurries as temperatures drop.
Much cooler weather will continue on the western Prairies into early next week. Temperatures will trend back to near seasonal mid- and late week. Meanwhile, eastern parts of the region will remain within a few degrees of seasonal.
As well, an unsettled pattern returns to Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan. Another Colorado low will bring widespread rain Monday.
Unfortunately, this has the potential to bring 20-40+mm to areas still recovering from flooding and waterlogged fields, missing areas where rain is desperately needed.
Forecasters are also watching the potential for yet another high-impact storm late next week and weekend. There is some chance for this system to take a more westerly track. If that verifies, then it would bring rain to areas that really need it.
LOOK AHEAD: A TASTE OF SUMMER MAY HAVE BEEN A TEASE
This sample of summer-like warmth isn’t long for the world. Make sure you get out and enjoy it while it lasts, because it looks like the pattern will start to flip toward the cooler side of seasonal heading into the middle of the month.
“Our forecast for mid- and late May calls for temperatures to be near or slightly cooler than normal across most of Canada,” according to Dr. Doug Gillham in his exclusive May outlook for The Weather Network.
It’s not all bad news, he adds.
“However, while there is a lot of blue on the map, we don’t expect that temperatures will be far off of seasonal across these regions. Also, keep in mind that ‘seasonal’ steadily climbs through the month. Even a cool May will include many days of pleasant spring weather.”
Thumbnail courtesy of Notanee Bourassa, taken in Chamberlain, Sask.
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest updates across the Prairies.