Thousands of central Albertans became reacquainted with their shovels over the weekend following snowfall up to 15 centimetres in local areas.
Environment Canada meteorologists say a weather system took up residence over southern and central Alberta, bringing a prolonged period of snowfall to many regions, including the Edmonton metro region which saw 20-28 cm fall.
Red Deer saw 14 cm of snow over the weekend.
Elsewhere, Rocky Mountain House saw 11 cm, Calgary 10-12 cm, Cochrane 9 cm, Cold Lake 10 cm, Lloydminster 13 cm, Lethbridge totaled 8 cm, and 5-10 cm fell in the Medicine Hat area.
Red Deer's record snowfall for December 1 is 13.2 cm set in 1972. The record for December 2 is 13 cm set in 2013.
Environment Canada meteorologist Brian Proctor says what was most-interesting this past weekend was the duration of the snowfall.
“The amounts we saw through much of the central Alberta area were not abnormally high,” says Proctor. “The most significant thing was that really it fell over a 36-48 hour period depending on which community you were in. So it was a long duration snowfall event which made for some messy highway conditions, but in general, not sort of record-setting amounts of snow or anything like that.”
Looking ahead, Proctor says the forecast looks good for the coming week.
“It looks fairly nice and sunny at this point. We’re not seeing any systems on the horizon over the next seven days,” he states. “It will be pretty much sunny conditions right through the weekend. The most interesting thing probably of note for people is we’re looking for temperatures to cool off a little bit over the next few days with daytime highs around the minus eight to minus 10 mark.”
As for the rest of the month, Proctor anticipates weak El Nino type conditons.
“That tends to make it not be really cold across central Alberta, which will make a lot of people very happy,” Proctor explains. “The one thing that tends to happen when we don’t get a lot of the cold is sometimes we get a little more precipitation. Our models are sort of indicating over the next month to month and a half that we’re likely to see a little bit of an end to precipitation, especially as we move closer to the foothills.”
However, Proctor says the long-term outlook is not for really cold weather, but indeed more snowfall here in Red Deer.
“It’s not looking really cold and it’s not looking really dry,” he says. “So if people want to get that white Christmas, this might be a good year to look forward to that.”
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