Calgary’s long-range spring forecast suggests extended ski season

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People with ski passes will likely appreciate the latest long-range spring forecast from AccuWeather.

The rest of us, no so much.

The online weather service is predicting colder than average temperatures this spring for western Alberta.

A La Niña phenomenon, which brings cooler temperatures to the Pacific ocean, is expected to also bring more storms to B.C. and the Rocky Mountains.

“I still think the ski season is going to be very good in the spring through the mountains,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Brett Anderson.

La Niña generally brings increase precipitation and a prolonged snow season to the Rocky Mountains and western Canada. If this forecast proves true, it could be great for those who want to keep hitting the slopes.

Anderson said he expects turbulence from storms passing over the Rockies will show up in Calgary as wind, without a lot of precipitation.

“It’s going to be a windy spring, said Anderson. “It’s going to be a lot of sharp temperature changes.”

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The cold and snow in the mountains could have consequences when the warmer weather finally does arrive.

“The result of this expected weather pattern will be above-normal snowpack and river levels that may lead to a higher-than-usual threat for spring flooding due to excessive runoff and ice jams in British Columbia and western Alberta by late spring and into early summer,” he said.

Anderson cautioned it is still too early for a truly accurate flood forecast, but increased snow could be a sign of things to come.

However further north and east, prairie regions are expected to have a dryer than normal spring as the jet stream carries storms south into the U.S.

Areas around Edmonton and Regina have already seen less-than-average snowfall this winter, and if that trend continues, it will reduce the risk of flooding in those areas.

“However, it is still very early and conditions can change quickly in early spring, thus additional updates on the spring flood risk are likely through the season,” Anderson said.

While dry weather will reduce the risk of flooding, it could increase the risk of wildfires in those regions.

“It is still too early to determine whether or not this will be an extreme year in terms of wildfires across northwestern Canada,” said Anderson.

In the short term, Calgary could be in for a few days of spring-like weather.

Environment Canada says after a chilly Saturday with highs of only -6 C, Calgary should see five straight days of above-zero temperatures and mostly sunny skies.

March should come in like a lamb on Monday as it warms to 8 C. The average high for this time of year is around 1 C.

Read AccuWeather’s full spring forecast here.

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