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Winter flexes muscles ahead of spring weather

Hold on, everyone — there is a light at the end of the weather tunnel.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist has a positive forecast to offer Cranbrook and Kimberley residents:

"The bad news is winter is almost over and the good news is spring is just around the corner."

Lundquist said Sunday, March 2 and Monday, March 3 brought more than 12 centimetres of snow to the region, measured at the Canadian Rockies International Airport.

It came a day after we broke a cold-weather record. March 1 had the coldest temperature ever registered on that date, getting down to minus 25.2 degrees Celsius overnight between Friday and Saturday. The previous cold-weather record for March 1 came from 1976, when it got down to minus 20.6.

It was a fleeting record, though: overnight on Saturday night, the temperature didn’t get below minus 18.7. The record for March 2 is minus 28.3, again in 1976.

Lundquist said the snowstorm was caused when cold air from the north collided with wet air from the west.

“We had Arctic air move into the Southern Interior late last week and into the beginning of the weekend,” he said. “Then the flow has switched around, trying to come off the Pacific. It’s that clash of Arctic air with moister air from the Pacific that resulted in that snow.”

But the end is in sight: the Pacific air is going to break down the Arctic air, and by the weekend we will have temperatures reaching 11 degrees above – significantly higher than the average of 5 to 7 degrees for this time of the year.

“It’s going to warm up throughout the week, maybe getting as high as the double digits for the weekend. We’re forecasting a high of 9 to 11 degrees, Friday through Sunday,” said Lundquist.

That will make a big dent in the 45 centimetres of snow Environment Canada says has collected on the ground at its weather station at the airport. And, he added, if we see snow again this spring, it likely won’t stick around.

“In the longer term, there’s a pretty high probability it will stay above average (temperature) for the next two weeks,” said Lundquist.

He continued to urge caution for drivers, however, particularly those taking the Kootenay or Crowsnest  Passes.

“This means that spring is coming shortly for the valleys; it doesn’t mean the same thing for the mountain passes,” he said.

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