As the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather in Alberta — wait five minutes. And if you do like it — enjoy it while you can.
And as has been the case all winter, the Edmonton region will experience yo-yoing temperatures in the coming days: from a balmy, spring-like weekend to a double-digit drop back to winter weather.
“Every winter will have its above-average and below-average stretches. This winter we happen to be in an El Nino; Western Canada sees it this time around as milder with less precipitation,” Global News weather specialist Phil Darlington said.
What little snow is on the ground has been melting rapidly recently as temperatures have hovered above zero.
While Friday afternoon appears to be the warm point of the week, with temperatures of 10 C in the Edmonton area, it’ll remain above freezing through Saturday and Sunday.
The balmy weather has prompted one of the city’s driving ranges to open earlier than ever.
“Our earliest has been March 7, so Feb. 23 is a record for us,” said Jeff Ivanochko, co-founder of Canada Golf Card Driving Range (formerly Bogey Busters) on Ellerslie Road near 135 Street. ”
We like to open up early. We like taking the title and kicking off golf every year.
“We’re getting into the plus-10s and that’s good enough for us.”
Snow or shine, Kent Morrison gets his golf on at the driving range
Even if the ground isn’t completely bare: Ivanochko said they had to use a bobcat to clear some snow away so golf balls can be collected in the evening.
“We got the snow team together and we’ve been working at this for the last couple of days to get the field ready.”
The driving range will be open Friday through Sunday, from noon to 5:30 p.m. — weather permitting.
“It is not even spring but come out, enjoy the sunshine. You know, get a little bit of rust off the swing and have a great time,” Ivanochko said.
Shortly after opening Friday, half a dozen golfers showed up, eager to get going.
“People are just excited and happy to get out.”
This will be the weekend to do that, because the balmy weather will be short-lived.
“We have been basking in a lot of warm air, which has come in from the west. Over the next few days, that warm air moves out,” Darlington said.
A low is expected to develop off of the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains and ride the jet stream east, bringing heavy snow with it.
“At the same time, we are expecting cold air to descend from the north and snap us back to well below average temperatures for next week,” Darlington said.
Come Monday, Environment Canada is forecasting cloudy skies with a 60 per cent chance of flurries and a daytime high of -15 C and overnight lows into the -20s.
That colder weather will linger throughout the week.
Because of that, the City of Edmonton is activating its extreme cold weather response on Sunday at noon.
It is targeted to end on Friday, March 1, at 9 a.m., based on current forecasts. If weather conditions remain cold beyond that timeframe, the response will be extended.
Extreme cold weather putting homeless Edmontonians at risk
The city said the threshold for activating the weather response is a wind chill of -20 for at least three consecutive nights and the intention is to help keep homeless and vulnerable people safe.
Open city facilities such as recreation centres and libraries will be available during regular hours of operation for anyone to get out of the extreme cold and warm up.
The city encourages vulnerable Edmontonians to go to shelters to protect themselves from winter conditions.
The city’s LRT system and stations are not part of the extreme weather response. Transit spaces, including LRT stations and transit centres, are not suitable substitutes for proper shelter space as they lack basic amenities such as washrooms, are often inadequately heated and do not allow those using the space to safely connect with important social supports.
For more information on what the response entails and the supports available, visit the city of Edmonton’s website.
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