After an early morning round of a few centimeters of wet, sticky snow, driving conditions have been less than optimal for the entire day. As of 5:30 p.m. Monday evening, the Sun Valley Tire road report for the Pembina and Red River Valleys indicated all highways in the region were either ice or party ice and/or snow covered. Visibility was reported as good, with the at times gusty northwesterly winds, having started to back off.
Below is a gallery of photos from a multi vehicle scene near St. Adolphe on Highway 75, where several semis ended up sliding into the ditch.
According to CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner, Monday morning's snowfall was the first of several this week before a blast of very cold air arrives.
"Multiple, relatively weak disturbances will move through this week," said Sumner. "On the heels of today’s low, is an Alberta Clipper that will zoom through the region Tuesday, bringing the potential for another couple centimeters. After that, some sunshine Wednesday, before the next system arrives Thursday, yet another clipper, which is expected to bring another 2 to 5cms, primarily in the evening and overnight to Friday morning, as well as gusty southerly southerly winds between 40 to 60 km/h."
And as for that return of bone-chilling temperatures, Sumner stressed, it will be here before we know it.
"Temperatures after Monday will be seasonal, to a few degrees above, ranging between -6 and -10," he explained. "After that final low moves through Friday, Arctic high pressure begins to build in, and that will allow a lobe of the Polar Vortex, which we can always find over the far north, to descend across Western Canada and deep into the United States. We will see a return to bitter cold the likes of what we haven’t had in weeks. Think way back to that week-long cold snap we saw just before Christmas."
Beginning this coming weekend, highs will struggle to reach the -20s, and overnight lows will regularly flirt with -30.
As for how long this will stick around, according to Sumner, the long-range forecast models are showing it will be well into February before we may trend back toward seasonal conditions. Averages for this time of year are -11 daytime and -21 overnight.