A blast of winter stormed through Saskatchewan Wednesday night and seemed to put an exclamation mark on a week of harsh weather.
How fitting, too, since Thursday marked a turning point for the province.
“Today is a very important day in Saskatchewan. It’s what we call statistically the dead of winter,” said Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips.
Phillips explained that, on average, it’s not expected to get colder than the temperatures experienced this week.
“It begins that slow relentless rise upward. So you can honestly say in Saskatchewan today, there’s more winter behind us than there is ahead of us.”
A blowing snow advisory was issued for large areas of the province late Wednesday afternoon. By evening, top wind gusts had been measured at 75 km/h, creating reduced visibility and major challenges for drivers in and out of cities.
Earlier in the week, extreme cold warnings had also been issued, with much of the province still impacted as of Thursday morning. The wind chill values were into the -40 C ranges and even cooler in some places.
While people are still a long way away from trading snow shovels for gardening spades, there is optimism.
If the forecast holds true, the province be heading into milder weather next week, with temperatures expected to hit 0 C by Tuesday.
And the news gets better – the next couple of months are looking pretty good as well, based on what Phillips is seeing over the next several weeks.
“The personality of what we’re seeing over the next month or two months favour a warmer-than-normal period,” Phillips said.