Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Your weekend weather

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It appears the world didn't end Friday, which means we have no choice but to provide you with another heartfelt weekend weather forecast.

Along with the fact we're all still here, we have some wonderful weather-related news to impart in the sense that we are going to be spending a lot of time visiting with our old friend the sun over the holidays.

Our extremely jolly friend Dale Marciski at Environment Canada says a big, slow-moving Arctic air mass is descending on the Prairies, which means drier and colder and sunnier weather. "It's going to be a little colder than usual, but sunny -- that's the tradeoff," Dale told me. "There's no real storms on the horizon, so that's good news for travellers."

The outlook for today calls for mostly sunny and a high of -13 C, compared with the normal high of -11 C at this joyous time of year. Sunday's forecast calls for nothing but sun and a chilly high of -18 C.

On Christmas Eve, expect sun and a high of -19 C, while Christmas Day will be a bracing -18 C and sunny. If you need to leave home on Boxing Day to exchange your gifts for stuff you really wanted, it'll be sunny with a high of -19 C.

"The colder air is drier so the clouds tend to dissipate or move away," Dale explained. "When there's no cloud cover at night, however, the temperature can really drop because there's no insulating blanket of clouds."

For those of you with long memories, this year's outlook is nothing like last year, when we had a sultry high of 2.5 C on Christmas Day and a sweltering high of 4.5 C on Dec. 26, a new record for Boxing Day.

As for snow, my buddy Dale notes we only had two centimetres of the white stuff on the ground last Christmas, whereas at the moment we have a substantial 25 cm on the ground, meaning we'll be doing more than dreaming of a white Christmas. "That (25 cm) is a little more than normal, but nowhere near any kind of record," Dale says.

The most snow we've had on the ground in the last 16 years was 45 cm in 1996; the least was in 1997 when we only had a few dollops of snow hiding in shady areas.

If you've finished your Christmas shopping (Note to editors: Insert maniacal laughter here!) there's a lot of festive activities to get you in the spirit of the season. For example, you could score tickets to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's spectacular production of Nutcracker.

Or step back in time at Dalnavert Museum and enjoy a Victorian Christmas and hear classic stories like Dickens' A Christmas Carol read aloud. And there's still time to ogle the more than one million sparkly lights at Canad Inns Winter Wonderland at Red River Exhibition Park. Tickets are $15 at the gate and $10 in advance at any Canad Inns location.

Whatever you do, Winnipeg, make sure to take a few moments to stand under some mistletoe while roasting chestnuts by an open fire and dashing through the snow to deck your halls as visions of sugar plums dance in your heads.

On that note, I'll leave you with a few timeless words that truly capture what I'm feeling right now: "Fa la la la la!" And that comes from my heart, Winnipeg. Merry Christmas!

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 22, 2012 A2

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