After avoiding a couple of early season storms, it appears that luck is running out for parts of Southern Manitoba beginning Saturday night. A Special Weather Statement has been issued by Environment Canada for the entire southwest corner of the province, as far east as the Pilot Mound and Manitou regions.

“So far, we’ve been pretty fortunate with how the first couple of systems tracked across the eastern Prairies,” explained CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner. “Their tracks have been considerably northwest of our region, but this latest Alberta Clipper appears it will brush parts of Southern Manitoba, giving that first taste of winter to regions which have avoided the flakes so far.”

According to Environment Canada, this system will bring rapidly changing weather conditions with strong winds, rain changing to snow and quickly falling temperatures. Showers will begin in western Manitoba Saturday evening along an advancing cold front. Behind this cold front temperatures will fall below the freezing mark, and snow will begin to move in from Saskatchewan overnight into Sunday morning. Strong winds will also accompany the snow causing reduced visibility. Icy conditions will also develop as temperatures drop below the zero degree mark, causing wet surfaces to freeze by Sunday morning. Snow and winds will begin to taper off Sunday evening.

“Based on the current projected track of this system, the further east you move from the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border, south of the Trans Canada highway, the less impacts you will see,” noted Sumner. “With that in mind, again based on the current forecast models and storm track, I don’t foresee this system impacting the Pembina and Red River Valleys beyond a chance of showers and very strong winds.”

As the low approaches, southerly winds will pick up Saturday afternoon gusting to 60 km/h. As the low moves across the province, and the cold front passes, the winds will shift westerly, pushing into the 60 to 80 km/h range by late Sunday morning, and continuing into the afternoon. The winds will diminish somewhat late Sunday evening, and overnight, before the next system heads toward Southern Manitoba on Monday.

“The second system, which is coming up out of the United States, is looking much more likely having a wider impact throughout the entire region,” noted Sumner. “Flurries will develop Sunday evening in Westman, with increasing cloud cover building throughout Monday in the Red River Valley and Southeastern parts of the province. Showers or snow, depending on temperatures at the time, are expected to begin Monday evening in those areas, lasting through Tuesday. This system will be a slow mover, and will continue to impact the region Wednesday, with slightly above seasonal temperatures potentially meaning more rain than snow during the day for more easterly regions. The southwest will be in a colder flow, at that point, and it could be more snow than rain, there.”

With winter weather conditions likely over the next three to four days, Sumner shared a reminder about the importance of checking conditions before hitting the highway.

“The winter season is almost here, and ensuring you know what you are driving into is one thing you can do to arrive safely,” he said. “If you are planning on heading toward the Saskatchewan border this weekend, really make sure you take a look before departing, because you could be in for a rude awakening depending on how far east in the province you’ve travelled from.”