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Blocking pattern bringing southern Alberta an extended warm spell

Posted on March 25, 2019 by admin

By Stan Ashbee
Westwind Weekly News

From now until the weekend, temperatures will be above normal and was well above normal earlier this week, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada Meteorologist Blaine Lowry from the Edmonton office. This outlook is for the Lethbridge region, which includes the Westwind Weekly News readership area.

“For this time of year the normal high is seven degrees. We’re looking at highs in the mid-teens for the next few days and still in the double digits through the weekend,” he noted on Tuesday.

Lowry said the next chance of a change in the weather pattern might be towards the middle of next week. “Where a cold front may come through, but given the really warm conditions we’ve had, that will probably drop us only back down to closer to normal values.”

During an Alberta winter, extended cold snaps similar to the one in February and an extended warm spell in March is quite typical at this time of year — both caused by blocking patterns. “Basically, stagnant patterns in the upper atmosphere,” he said — with not much change in the day-to-day weather over the course of a number of days or weeks.

“Basically, we were in a blocking pattern through the month of February, that gave us those really cold conditions for an extended period of time and now we’re in a blocking pattern bringing us the exact opposite,” he explained.

As for this year’s spring seasonal outlook at the end of February, which encompasses March, April, and May — in terms of temperatures, the seasonal outlook for southern Alberta was for below normal conditions. “When it came out, we were assuming it was going to be linked heavily towards the well-below normal conditions expected at the beginning of March,” he said. “The spring outlook was for below normal. The anticipation was it was going to be skewed by the well-below normal conditions at the beginning of March.”

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