After several weeks of balmy winter conditions in the Battlefords, Old Man Winter finally blew in Wednesday.
A fast-moving cold mass of Arctic air moved into the Northwest bringing temperatures approaching the -20 C mark Wednesday morning, ending several days of temperatures at or 0 C. And, after several days without precipitation, there was more snow on the ground after flurries rolled in to the Battlefords Tuesday.
That brought about what has been a rare occurrence this winter in the Battlefords: slightly below-normal temperatures for January.
It also signaled an end to an unusual stretch of several weeks in December and January of Saskatchewan communities approaching or setting record temperatures.
The community of Maple Creek hit a high of 16 C Jan. 4, thanks to a steady stream of warm Pacific air that had made its way through the prairies.
The conditions have also seen relative little precipitation compared to last year.
Despite the cold Wednesday, milder conditions made a brief comeback starting Thursday, that was predicted to last through the weekend.
However, weather forecasters predicted the Arctic air that has been bottled-up in the north would finally move into the prairies and bring with it the type of cold January temperatures residents are used to.
The Environment Canada forecast for next week calls for a 60 per cent chance of snow Monday and Tuesday, with highs of only -14 C Monday and -15 C Tuesday. Lows were predicted to drop to -23 C Tuesday.
It's expected the cold snap will stick around for at least the next week and a half before temperatures become more bearable. Still, it is a far cry from previous winters where residents endured frigid temperatures for weeks on end.
We should learn more about whether the late-arriving cold winter weather might stick with us or not Feb. 2, when North American groundhogs make their predictions on whether there will be six more weeks of winter.